Organizations around the world have been with the Wana Decrypt0r (aka WannaCry) ransomware, in what seems to be the most massive ransomware delivery campaign to date. The WannaCryptor ransomware has crippled hospitals and other companies in the United Kingdom, Spain, Russia and many other countries, and researchers say it has reached the U.S.The cyberattack has forced at least two London hospitals to stop admitting new patients with serious medical conditions, according to a British health reporter.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a kind of malicious script or software that installs itself on your computer without your knowledge. Once it’s installed and running, it will lock down your system and won’t allow you to access any files or programs on that computer. Usually, as in this current WannaCry exploit, it will alert you to the lockdown with an impossible-to-ignore pop-up screen which informs you that your computer is being held for ransom. To unlock your system and regain access to the computer being held hostage, the lock screen informs you that you must purchase an unlock tool or decryption key from the hacker.
Spain’s CERT said the ransomware that is spreading “infects the machine by encrypting all its files” and allows the attackers to remotely control the network. The malware is also then “distributed to other Windows machines in that same network,” Spain’s CERT said.
How to Protect Yourself From the Vulnerability?
The Spanish organization pointed to a Microsoft security update from March offering a fix for the flaw. If you are running Windows and have automatic updates enabled you should be okay. If you don’t and haven’t updated recently you should update to the most recently released version immediately. It is important to note that unsupported versions of Windows, like XP, did not receive this security update. Those systems should either be isolated or shut down.
Please pass this along to your friends and family. Those that are less technical may not have updates auto-enabled, and may need a helping hand updating their operating system.