May 26, 2017

WannaCry Ransomware: Know How To Protect Yourself From The Unexpected Attack

19 May 2017, 02:46 | Marlene Myers

The attack, known as WannaCrypt or WannaCry, originated from a particular form of ransomware targeting "unpatched" and outdated Microsoft Windows file-sharing software.

The WannaCry ransomware spread quickly across the globe within hours of being discovered.

The phenomenon of companies failing to update their systems has been a persistent security problem for years. That prompted the company to issue another patch on Friday for older and unsupported operating systems such as Windows XP, allowing users to secure their systems without needing an upgrade to the latest operating software.

The subject of all of this hassle, the WannaCry worm has affected at least 200,000 Windows machines around the globe since Friday, leading to the disruption of systems from FedEX corp to Britain's National Health Service and even auto factories. Keep Windows Update turned on, so that you are automatically prompted to download and install these updates.

The ongoing attack, which specifically targets Microsoft operating systems, made headlines last week after it compromised one of the UK's largest hospital systems.

However, the Financial Times report points out that Windows XP users are still expected to pay extra if they want security and it now stands at $1,000 per device. EternalBlue uses a backdoor referred to as DoublePulsar and those who haven't installed Microsoft's patch from March may still be vulnerable to the ransomware attack.

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Fortunately, the campaign was halted when a 22-year-old security researcher named Marcus Hutchins found a simple kill switch that neutralized the ransomware's potency. The ease of stopping the attack suggests the hackers were new to this game.

Computers and networks that hadn't recently updated their systems are still at risk because the ransomware is lurking.

Information technology experts warned about a potential second wave of Wanna Decryptor (WannaCry) ransomware attacks, which hit 200,000 computer users in over 150 countries.

A photo taken on May 15, 2017 shows staff monitoring the spread of ransomware cyber-attacks at the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) in Seoul.

Many businesses and organisations had IT experts working 24/7 to prevent new infections and to stop the "WannaCry" virus from spreading.

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