The recent WannaCry ransomware virus outbreak has a lot of people wondering how to keep themselves safe from hackers. There will be the usual folks who say you should stay away from Windows machines because they are the only ones with vulnerabilities. Or that it's all the NSA's fault for stockpiling exploits and possibly providing the code that can use the exploit WannaCry used. But the reality is a little more complex than that. And while this particular virus attacked a certain type of computers, the next one may go after a different operating system or operating system version.

The truth is that all software (so far) is written by humans and humans make mistakes. So there will always be bugs that hackers can use to gain access to our machines. Users are humans too and we also make mistakes which allow hackers to infiltrate our machines. So what are we to do to protect ourselves? Thankfully there are some steps that will mitigate the effects of these attacks and protect us against more common problems (losing a laptop on a trip or having a piece of hardware fail).

1.       Backup your critical data. Anything you don’t back up, you should be willing to lose. This applies not just to the data on your laptop (which you may lose) or your desktop (whose hard disk may fail) but to all data, everywhere – the photos on your phone, your calendar, etc. If you are attacked by ransomware and you have a backup, you can just wipe your machine clean and start cover. The hackers can’t hold you hostage if you have a copy of your data. Part of having a backup, is ensuring that the backup is working and that you are able to retrieve your data when you need to. A backup isn’t really a backup if you haven’t tried to restore from it.

2.      Backup your critical data. Can you tell I’m a big fan of backups? Probably because my very first job in high school was backing up our school’s computer system on magnetic tape. My teacher/boss instilled in me the importance of rotating tapes through the backup cycle (four sets for full backups once a week which were taken off-site and a set for daily incremental backups) and multiple times we needed those tapes to restore the system.

3.       Use a cloud storage system such as OneDrive, Box, DropBox, etc. Saving your data to the cloud makes it available from multiple machines and generally keeps a copy safe from hackers. You may need to go back a version to get the correct data, but you can quickly get up and running on a new machine if your data is in the cloud.

4.      Update your operating system regularly. Ideally you should have automatic updates turned on for your computer. Software patches often come out before hackers can take advantage of vulnerabilities, but if you aren’t patching your system, you can easily become a target.

5.      Install good anti-virus software. Anti-virus software won’t always save you, but it’s a useful tool in the arsenal to fight the bad guys. Make sure you keep it up-to-date just as you do with your operating system.

6.      Be suspicious of email attachments from anyone, including your contacts. If you aren’t expecting something from one of your friends, check out what you are getting before you click on it.

At SureTech, we provide solutions that can help protect you against viruses and ensure your data is safe. Most of our clients enjoy SureDesks™ which provide managed desktops that are available anywhere in the world. Data from the SureDesks™ is backed up regularly and the operating system is kept up-to-date. And our anti-virus software – WebRoot – provided protection against WannaCry (

If you’d like more information about our SureDesk™ solution or any of our other solutions for businesses, please email This email address is hidden from email harvesters via JavaScript  for more information about SureDesk and our SNAP Total PC Support solutions.


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