With WannaCry Ransomware Attack hitting the global networks, cyber security experts are working day and night to explore the fall-out. More than 150 countries, 230,000 computers and major organizations have been affected. Here’s what you must know about it and defensive measures to initiate:
WannaCry Ransomware Attack: What Is It?
The WannaCry ransomware attack was first noted on Friday, 12 May 2017, and is an on-going cyber-attack caused by WannaCry ransomware cryptoworm. The worm is also known by the names WannaCrypt, WanaCrypt0r 2.0 and Wanna Decryptor. Biggest companies including Renault, FedEx, Spain’s Telefónica, Deutsche Bahn and Britain’s National Health Service faced the worst consequences.
The ransomware cryptoworm attacks the computers with Microsoft Windows OS, creates an encrypted code of data available and demands Bitcoin crypto-currency payments. The initial transfer demand ranges between USD 300-600.
Who Got Affected?
Organizations that were using computers with an older version of Windows XP or didn’t have Microsoft’s security update installed were majorly affected. Countries who faced a lot of trouble with this attack were Russia, Ukraine, India and Taiwan.
Three bitcoin “wallets” or addresses were used to receive the payments, with 238 transactions amounting to $72,144.76. The owner of the wallet is still unknown and the transactions and payments were public.
Bottom line: Update your software and keep a backup of your files. Lately, Microsoft released a statement asking users to get MS17-010 update installed in their computers. Additionally, it also released various fixes and patches available for out-dated versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.
In addition, you can:
- Download your data into an external hard drive or create a backup on a cloud based service.
- Keep a straight check on your computers’ medical and credit reports regarding any deceitful activity in the past.
- Do not open unknown mails. Get a heads-up on phishing and read a brief about the social engineering attack.
- Keep your systems upgraded with Anti-Virus protection.
- Block spam mails.
- Switch on the “Disable Macros” on Microsoft Office products.
As per 16 May 2017, University College London researchers stated that their “PayBreak” system can defeat the ransomware. It has been contained up till now, but there might be a possibility that the attackers might change the codes and return. So keep your system fully secured and follow the steps to avoid such attacks.