How to protect against the global WannaCrypt ransomware attack

Dozens of countries hit by huge cyberextortion attack
Microsoft adds detection, protection against global cyberattack: statement

13 May, 2017

The National Health Service in England has had numerous hospitals and doctor's offices hit, and a number of private companies have reported a similar attack. The details have been revealed by BBC News.

In a surprising move, Microsoft released security patches for unsupported versions of the Windows operating system that patch the SMB vulnerability on devices running these versions of Windows as well. FedEx issued a statement, saying that "like many other companies, FedEx is experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware".

The ransomware, which encrypts a computer's files, is said to present a demand for $300 in Bitcoins to unlock them, along with a threat to double the price.

The Bitcoin wallets which are provided in the program are already beginning to receive payments from people who are looking to regain access to their computers.

There is now no info about how the initial ransomware infections happened but Microsoft believes it may be through phishing emails which contain the Trojan Horse malware.

Microsoft announced late Friday it was taking the "highly unusual step" of providing a security update for outdated Windows platforms, including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003, for computers not running Windows 10.

The possibility ransomware can spread virally across the Internet without any form of end-user interaction is a chilling prospect.

ETERNALBLUE exploits a previously unknown flaw in Microsoft's Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. Since then, it appears to be spreading around the globe at speed. And it worked throughout the day to develop patches for versions of the Windows Defender software that can detect the ransomware and fight the same to protect your computer. "Microsoft released a patch for the exploit, known as MS17-010, in March, but clearly many organizations haven't caught up", Wired said. According to Symantec, such attacks have jumped from 340,665 in 2015 to 463,841 past year. As Microsoft's blog posts makes clear, vulnerable machines aren't only a danger to themselves, but to the entire world at large.

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