On Friday organisations around the world were hit by a ransomware attack which locked machines and demanded money to release the information. Since then systems have been affected across 150 countries.

Ransomware is a cyber-threat, a type of malware that installs itself on a computer and holds files to ransom by encrypting with the threat of deletion until a sum of money is paid.

Mark Hughes, president of security at BT said: “Importantly the malware itself is not about stealing information. It’s about making the user and their PC unable to access information.”

The WannaCry ransomware exploits a Microsoft vulnerability which the company identified and released a patch for in March. Businesses that didn’t apply the patch could be vulnerable.

Sadly many of the threats businesses are facing today are based around cyber-security and include ransomware, viruses and hacking.

What BT is doing to keep businesses safe

BT’s security team is working closely with the government’s cyber security centre as well as law enforcement agencies in the UK and around the world.

BT is a global company with operations in over 180 countries, supporting big and small companies, nation states and national infrastructures. BT has 2,500 security professionals in 14 global security centres.

Les Anderson, BT’s vice president of cyber-security says: “We’ve been able to use the global nature of BT, the global nature of our security centres, to maximise our ability to react with speed, so we can protect ourselves, but also offer best advice to our customers.”

BT’s advice for business owners

1: Understand your IT estate: This includes any legacy IT and operating systems that your business is running and crucially whether your computer systems still benefit from security support.

2: Understand your exposure to the internet: Including what cyber-defences you have to keep your business safe.

3: Understand your network connectivity. According to Anderson the worm has spread itself by moving laterally through a network: “You need to understand how different servers and services connect to each other because if you are contaminated, you need to understand how you might want to intervene to halt the spread of that malicious worm across the network.”

Find out more in the video below:

BT’s security analysts are continually gathering and evaluating information about cyber-threats to create a daily alert for businesses. Sign up for the free daily intelligence alert.

BT has advice for businesses including guides to Assessing your security risk and How to protect your organisation.

BT can offer risk assessments and advise on businesses can stay safe, along with device management. Find out more at www.bt.com/security