It’s predicted to be one of the biggest ransomware attacks on record, with tens of thousands of computers affected across nearly 150 countries.
With many businesses still wondering if they are at risk, we find out what exactly is WannaCry, and how do you protect yourself against this latest cyber breach?
Wannacry is simply a ransomware, a malicious piece of software that locks files on a computer and demands payment to unlock them. In this particular case, WannaCry has taken advantage of a flaw discovered in the Windows XP operating system that was made public to hackers in April. Microsoft had released a patch for this vulnerability in March, however the computers and networks that had not updated their systems were still at risk.
Although a ‘kill switch’ has been enabled to stop the spread of the ransomware, your business could still be at risk.
What should I do to protect myself?
Small businesses and individuals should;
- Ensure you run windows updates for the latest software updates
- Check your anti-virus software is up to date, and scan your computer for any malicious programmes
- Back up your important data
Medium to large business should;
- Apply the latest Microsoft security patches for this particular flaw if this has not been done automatically (Windows XP, Windows 8 and server 2003 will require manual updating)
- Check all anti-virus is up to date and conduct regular scans
- Back up all your essential data
- Scan and monitor all incoming and outgoing emails for malicious attachments
- Educate your employees on identifying cyber threats such as scams, malicious links and emails that may contain viruses
- Review your cyber security or contact an IT provider to review it
What if I’ve already been attacked?
- DO NOT pay the ransom demanded, there is no evidence to suggest the hackers will give you your files back
- Businesses should contact law enforcement, and provide as much information as possible
- For individuals, it may be worth contacting a local IT support service
Further guidance can be found on The National Cyber Security Centre website.
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