Ransomware cyber attacks and what to do about them


You will have seen the media coverage regarding ransomware and the cyber attack on the NHS and other global organisations.

If you use Microsoft Operating Systems you need to be aware of the dangers and take precautions.

This version of ransomware is called WannaCry, WannaCrypt or WannaDecrypt.

There are many ways that this ransomware can infect an IT system, but perhaps the most common is when someone clicks on an email attachment.

The ransomware is activated by double clicking an attachment or it may be activated automatically when browsing the web.

A patch was released by Microsoft in March 2017 to deal with this vulnerability, for supported operating systems which include Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Server 2012, Sever 2008 and Server 2008R2.

Microsoft has just re-written a patch to work on older unsupported operating systems, i.e. Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows 2003. This requires manual intervention to deploy and will not download automatically.

Note that the patch may already be installed on your operating systems. However, if you haven’t rebooted a server or workstation since the patch was installed then it won’t have been applied and you are NOT protected.

Paul Page, Head of Support and Customer Relations at Sharp-aX Limited commented:

“The key points to make from a technical perspective are:

1) Don’t use out of date software, and implement patches as often as possible.
2) Be suspicious of attachments on emails and do not rely on staff not opening them.
3) Strong anti-virus software is a must, such as Sophos which can be supplied and installed from Sharp-aX Computer Systems Ltd
4) Plan that your defences will fail, what is your recovery plan? How long will it take?
5) Lastly, don’t panic. These type of viruses have been prevalent for some time now and whilst customers can, and do lose data to these attacks, the steps above will help minimise the long term pain.”

Here is a message that was sent to Sharp-aX customers: “If you don’t have our professional Sophos AntiVirus protection & Offsite BackUpVault – please check what precautions you do have in place to protect your company data. Microsoft advise that customers running older operating systems, including Server 2003, XP Pro & Windows 8 are extremely vulnerable. We have servers and PCs ready built in stock. If you are unsure please contact support – will are here to help.”

Posted: 15th May 2017

Posted in: Sharp-aX

Customer Feedback

"The installation has gone very well, and it has saved us a lot of time and made us more efficient especially on the sales desk. We plan to grow the system over the next few years as the company grows"

Mark Slater, Manager
M&S Distributors

"I have worked closely with the Sharp-Ax Web Development Team for more than 4 years now. When we first started working together, I was incredibly green and had little knowledge of how to go about creating a website.

Sharp-Ax were incredibly patient and helped me through the early stages, quickly earning my trust and respect.

Throughout the process they have come up with some truly innovative solutions to tasks I have set and have worked with me to achieve a platform that I am very happy with.

I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone that is looking to either start a website from scratch or are looking to move their business. It sounds corny Jean, Manish and the rest of the team do actually prioritise the customer experience, which in this day and age is refreshing"

Gary Sanderson
Metro Fixings

Skilled, reliable, and excellent customer care

"I've been working closely with the web team at Sharp Ax now for over two years, and during that time they have always been thoroughly professional, reliable and most importantly, very good at what they do.

Our site has gone through strength to strength since we went live around 18 months ago, and it has now become a vital part of our business. We regularly receive glowing compliments about the layout and usability of our website from customers and suppliers, and while I would love to be able to take the credit for it, this is largely down to the website template and CMS, which is simple and easy to use.

As with all tech installations you may get the odd hiccup or something may not integrate seamlessly with your own system at first, but the best thing about Sharp Ax is that any problem is fixed quickly and with the minimum of fuss. It is clear that they prioritise customer satisfaction, which is refreshing to see from a tech company.

I would not hesitate to recommend this company to anyone and I look forward to continuing a strong working relationship moving forward"

Mark Collins
TC Fixings

"We had a big increase in our daily workload as we set up the new system. Our software problems proved to be minimal though and Sharp-aX came to our aid whenever required, so we were able to move forward with total confidence"

Dave Mansfield, Senior Systems and Network Administrator
Apex Grange Ltd

"We wanted to set the company up for the next 15 years with a totally modern Microsoft windows system that has everything we need and all the features that we will need as we grow, and is easy to use. Already it is like having another member of staff and we have all the daily knowledge we need at our fingertips. The sales order processing is splendid"

Simon Carter, Company Manager
Carter Mason Electrical Ltd

"I've looked at different systems and picked Sharp-Ax from Sharp-aX Computer Systems, because it used all modern windows techniques and was by far the best I saw; they are very experienced in electrical wholesalers systems and while they are a large software house which is reassuring, you are still treated as important, whatever size you are"

Jon Bishop, Branch manager
Connect Electrical