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I know we’ve talked about security in this column before, but when a computer virus makes big international news, we need to bring up the topic again. Recently, the WannaCry virus led to a global pandemic of infected computer systems.

WannaCry is a ransomware virus, meaning that it holds the files on your computer system hostage. Some viruses threaten to delete your files unless you pay the hackers some amount of money, usually in BitCoins. Other viruses make your files inaccessible until you pay up.

Thanks to an observant system administrator, WannaCry’s kill switch was flipped, deactivating the virus before many corporations and governments were adversely affected. WannaCry was prolific, having infected over 120, 000 computer systems across the globe. After administrators inoculated their systems against WannaCry, Adylkuzz, another ransomeware virus, shortly appeared on the scene holding systems hostage once again.

There will always be computer viruses. Hackers create viruses for any number of reasons, but you can protect yourself against infection by being proactive with your company’s IT security, and being vigilant about defending yourself.

Why did WannaCry spread so quickly? Complacency. WannaCry and Adylkuzz affected Windows XP computers the most. If you are still using Windows XP stop. It’s time to upgrade. If you have to use Windows XP, turn on Windows Firewall. Taking this simple step would have prevented the WannaCry infection from taking root on so many systems.

The administrator who discovered WannaCry’s kill switch noticed that there was an unusual amount of traffic on his company’s web server. If you are using WordPress, or another content management system for your site, keep it up-to-date. Most ISPs do this for you, but if you manually installed WordPress be proactive about installing the most recent updates.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are always monitoring the health of their enterprises. Today, I’m adding one more indicator to keep an eye on—your computer systems’ health. WannaCry was detected and defeated because an administrator was paying attention to his systems. Make it a habit to periodically check your computer systems’ response rates, the number of files on disk, and memory usage. Viruses often times create new files and update old ones, which is a telltale sign of an infection. Performance indicators are readily available in Windows and Mac, and you can always ask your web host for this data on demand.

The only way you want to end up on the six o’clock news is for doing good in the community. Keep yourself out of the spotlight of infamy by periodically checking your servers, and keeping your systems up-to-date.

William Mapp is the CEO of Studio Codeworks, Inc. and author of the Small Business Owner’s Guide to Technology. You can purchase The Guide at Amazon.com. You can send questions directly to Will at will@studiocodeworks.com, and follow him on the social webs at Twitter.com/WilliamMapp3.