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Hot Topic Highlight - Help, I'm held to ransom!

Updated: May 31, 2019



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What is today's blog about?


This blog article will focus on the recent ransomware cyberattacks which have hit 150 countries and over 200,000 computers, as of 15 May 2017. Essential reading for RICS APC and AssocRICS candidates.


You can also listen to our CPD podcast on Anchor for more free AssocRICS and RICS APC training and support.


Why is this relevant?


In the UK, the cyberattacks have targeted a wide variety of businesses - the most prominent being the NHS. In many instances, ensuring good data management and security could have avoided the attacks.


For business owners and property professionals, good data management and security can mean the difference between business success and failure.


Moreover, good data management isn't just important at work, it's also essential to ensure that you protect your personal identity and finances. 


Within the RICS APC, you could be asked about data security within the data management or property/records/information systems competencies, in addition to any other competencies where you discuss the storage or management of data.


What is ransomware?

Ransomware usually arrives via an email attachment or remote access. Opening the attachment allows the ransomware to infect the computer and locate encrypted files on the hard drive. The cyberattacker then issues a Bitcoin ransom demand - when this is paid, a decryption key should be issued (assuming they do as they promise...).


Why has this become more popular?

The recent attacks have happened to high profile organisations with severe financial impacts and disruptions to private/public services. The key issue is that software vulnerabilities have been exploited, e.g. old operating systems (e.g. Windows XP) used where up-to-date security patches are no longer released. 


What are the impacts?


  • Loss of data

  • Financial cost to meet ransom demand

  • Risk that decryption key won't be released

  • Disruption to serve

  • Reputational damage

  • Breach of  GDPR


How can cyberattacks be avoided?


  • Install and update malware software

  • Ensure IT devices have the latest security patches installed

  • Ensure administrator privileges prevent access to unauthorised users or guests

  • Only install software you need and from reputable sources

  • Back-up data regularly (on and off-line)

  • Segment your hard drive or network to limit damage

  • Use two-factor authentication - Apple iPhones use this technology

  • Recognise what a ransomware attack could look likeEnsure good staff training and data security processes

Relevant APC competencies:

  • Data management

  • Property records/information systems


How can we help?

  • Head to our blog archive to access even more free CPD and AssocRICS and RICS APC training and support.

  • Download your free AssocRICS and RICS APC resources, including e-books and revision quizzes.

  • Find out more about our bespoke AssocRICS and RICS APC training and support, before booking your free 15 minute consultation and signing up for your services online.

Not sure about signing up? Make sure you read what our recent successful candidates have to say in our Testimonials.


Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you


N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal or financial advice.