The biggest cyberattack in history has been spreading the globe since last Friday. Spanning across 150 countries, the 300,000 victims have included government agencies, hospitals, manufacturers and universities.

The virus known as ‘WannaCry’ targets Microsoft Windows operating systems. The ransomware demands victims to pay $300 in Bitcoin, a type of digital currency, and if not paid within a few days the ransom will double to $600. The attackers warn that if no action has occurred within a week, all files on an infected computer will be destroyed.

How can organizations protect themselves against attacks of these nature? It appears many users fell victim to the attack because they hadn’t installed their latest recommended security updates, which left their computers vulnerable to the attack. Once the virus is in an organizations network, it can easily spread by just one click in an infected link or email attachment. One of the easiest precautions organizations can take is to always ensure team member’s computers are updated and an antivirus software is installed.

Organizations should also be assessing their incident response plan. In the case of ransomware or cyberattack, when communication channels are compromised, secure text messaging keeps essential communications flowing.

Secure messaging provides a platform for continued critical conversations when discussing mitigation, emergency response and recovery plans while continuing to serve customers’ and patients’ immediate needs. In the case that hackers or even terrorists may have access to the network, and therefore certain information or communications, organizations can rest assured that conversations conducted via secure messaging are never compromised, keeping the hacker “out of the know”. This enables response groups to have a secure channel, which cannot be brought down by a ransom attack on the organization, where sensitive matters can be discussed without the fear of them being overheard by the attacker or needlessly being posted on Facebook or shared on Twitter by media or employees.

The ephemeral nature of these platforms also ensures that information is not retained on devices for an extended period of time, and therefore cannot feed into a cyberattacker’s plans. There is no traditional hacking methodology today that can obtain information that has expired and is fully deleted from devices and servers. Ephemerality helps organizations protect against attacks in the future by systematically removing texts from devices at prescheduled intervals to ensure the protection of sensitive data. Unlike email, the primary target of attackers, which remains with recipients for undefined periods of time, ephemeral texts are only stored in a secure repository of record for compliance purposes and never become “sticky”.

Vaporstream® provides secure, ephemeral and compliant messaging for the enterprise. Built by compliance and security experts with over 30 years of expertise, Vaporstream empowers businesses to securely leverage the efficiencies of modern day mobile messaging without jeopardizing security or compliance.

Contributor- Galina Datskovsky