Preparing for WannaCry and other ransomware attacks

Cyberattack effect: Over 2 lakh ATMs in India to be closed for software update
Ransomware attack again thrusts US spy agency into unwanted spotlight

20 May, 2017

Here's what you need to know about the WannaCry attack that hit thousands of organizations in over 100 countries around the world, including the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. A ransomware attack will shut down every drive on your computer if it's connected to the internet.

Nor does paying the ransom demanded by WannaCry actually guarantee one could recover full access to his/her files.

Like any malware, ransomware can be spread in a myriad of ways, and often makes the rounds via dodgy email attachments.

Although there isn't much to worry about, a flaw was recently discovered by security experts which remain unfixed by Google and can lead to a ransomware attack on Android devices. But in addition to the price you pay acquiring these smart assistants to grant a modern feel to your home, they might also be costing your privacy. "The problem is that can be completely devastating for someone who doesn't have proper backup". Security patches would be available for clients with older machines, but only if they paid for custom support agreements. Some of you don't want to have to learn how to use it, but it's worth the trouble. The price is created to be cheap enough for people to pay instead of giving up: a few hundred dollars in many cases.

However, NHS Digital said only 4.7% of the NHS is now using Windows XP, with the figure decreasing, and a spokesperson told BJ-HC today that no evidence has been found as of yet that patient data was compromised in the cyber attack.

It's not clear if the attack was meant to go this wide, Wheeler noted - the criminals themselves might be surprised at how successful they've been at spreading WannaCrypt. Hackers are said to have stolen the tools from the NSA and distributed them via Internet. "Why make them think twice?"

The researcher, identified only as "MalwareTech", found a "kill switch" within the ransomware as he studied its structure.

Summary: The Ransomware virus had stopped vehicle factories, hospitals, shops and schools in over 75 countries. Recovery from backups is one of them.

With the idea of cars connected to your Android devices, it's a possibility that you might get a message asking to pay a few hundred bucks in order to get your vehicle started. "If [Teen Vogue] readers are interested in hacking and how to become a hacker - do it ethically and legally, don't write worms!" You may lose some data, but it's a lot better than losing access to all of your files.

Once your files are encrypted, your options are limited. Due to the same, he said he did not file a complaint.

There are other types of ransomware out there.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Simple ways to protect your valuable information. Don't open attachments from people you don't know, and don't visit potentially compromised websites.

Of course, your data is also safe if you don't get an infection.

The attack largely infected networks that used out-of-date software, such as Windows XP, which Microsoft no longer offers technical support for.

The vulnerability which inspired the attacks was fixed by Microsoft in an update rolled out on March 14, 2017, but those running old OS like XP as well as those who had yet not updated their systems were among the ones hit by the attack.

If you or your organization is running a version of Windows, you could be at risk.

Vernick said businesses that failed to update their software could face scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which has previously sued companies for misrepresenting their data privacy measures.

In a BBC interview, Wallace said focus should be orientated towards uncovering why security patches weren't uniformly installed across the NHS, since NHS Digital sent a link to the latest Windows XP security patch to NHS organisations at the end of April. Only 64% of security experts update their software automatically or immediately upon being notified a new version is available.

Ensure Firewall is enabled to block all network based attacks. Under "Control Panel", head to "System and Security", and click "Windows Firewall". Help your friends and family, too.

Unfortunately, numerous millions of computers now still running the 2001 operating system never received those updates because their owners refused to pay for it.

More news