The ransomware attack causing international grief.
It’s called WannaCry, and it’s the most recent and powerful ransomware attack in a long procession of dangerous malware. Released just last Friday, the ransomware attack went global in 74 different countries and affected a staggering 75,000 PCs in the time-frame of just 24 hours to its release. It’s spread to 150 countries with an infection rate of over 150,000 PCs, and that’s the damage it did in only a week.
Also known as WCry or WDecryptor, WannaCry is a strain of Windows ransomware, or a “worm,” that searches for vulnerable, exposed, or otherwise unprotected computers to spread the infection. It starts as a phishing attack that then exposes a Windows vulnerability so it doesn’t have to rely on further phishing emails or drive-by downloads. In fact, WannaCry is self-infecting. Meaning if your PC is vulnerable and is targeted by this ransomware attack, it will be infected.
By using a software flaw that was once a part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance tool kit, the ransomware attack was unleashed on the Russian Interior Ministry, Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica, and the National Health Services (NHS) of Britain. Europe, Latin America, and Asia suffered a large majority of the attacks. Major corporations like FedEx, Hitachi, Nissan and Sandvik all fell prey to it as well. Even major governments and health authorities in Canada, India, Columbia and elsewhere had to contest with this malware.
To sum it up quickly, hackers deliver files to exposed computers that automatically encrypt all PC data. Once the data is encrypted, the hackers hold it hostage until a ransom is paid in bitcoin. Users who don’t meet the deadline for payment have their data stolen and wiped. It’s as simple as that, and it’s seen international success, with remediation costs soaring to the billions.
Ransomware attack next step:
In lieu of the many security breaches spreading across multiple platforms, zbrella is issuing a notice to all users who may be at risk: take the appropriate steps to protect yourself from what is being called one of the worst ransomware attacks yet. Several weeks ago, a GoogleDocs hack was released that infected about one million users. Newer versions of the WannaCry attack have also been released after a web security researcher mistakenly shut down the first wave of malware. Hacks are being perpetrated almost everyday. It’s your responsibility to safeguard your vulnerabilities against insidious infections.
If your PC runs Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2016, and you’ve installed all the recent Microsoft-released updates and patch available in Microsoft’s March 2017 Security Rollup, you are protected. For those running another version of Windows, such as XP, 8, or Server 20003, Microsoft’s emergency patch needs to be downloaded and installed right away.
Preventative security measures (or damage control) doesn’t start and stop with WannaCry. The global ransomware attack will continue to evolve and spread. This is not a matter of if but a matter of when. Educating yourself on cybersecurity is integral to running an effective business, retaining important data, and maintaining your finances.
IT should always be a main concern of any business with money and client data at risk. If you cannot effectively manage those IT needs, professional services can and should help mitigate the very real threat of rapidly spreading malware like WannaCry, the GoogleDocs hack, and future attacks.
Are you protected from dangerous malware? Are your PCs exposed to vulnerabilities that could jeopardize your data? Do you have access to the right patch installs and updates to protect your company from coming under attack? If you need help managing your IT needs and cybersecurity, call us at 718.355.9155 for a consultation.