What you need to know about WannaCry
Here’s a quick summary of the article if you want to see if you’re susceptible to an attack. Read on for the full breakdown.
Who is targeted?
Anyone using Microsoft Windows
How will you get infected?
Most likely via a phishing email. You can also get infected if you’re on a network that has been infected and does not have up-to-date security patches installed.
How can you prevent an attack?
Microsoft released a Critical Patch in March – if you haven’t installed it yet, you can access it here → Microsoft Critical Patch.
You’ve heard by now that there is a major security threat that has been circling the globe over the past few days. More than 250,000 computers have been infected with the ransomware known as “WannaCry.” This cyber attack is being described as the largest scale attack of this type to date. Large companies such as FedEx and Britain’s National Health Service have been taken hostage by WannaCry.
This attack is spread initially through phishing emails, and once one person is infected, it can actively spread itself to other machines on its own. Use extreme caution when opening any emails that look even remotely suspicious. If you are infected with this malware, your computer will essentially be shut down and become completely inaccessible, which isn’t good for your productivity or sanity.
The ransomware the hackers are requesting between $300-$1500 in order to regain access to your files. A steep price for not keeping your system up-to-date.
3 Steps to Protect Yourself From Cyber Attacks
- Apply critical security updates when they are released. A patch to protect everyone from this particular attack was released back in March 2017, so if you have applied your latest Windows Updates you are protected. If everyone was up to date this attack would have been largely unsuccessful. As we know people don’t keep up to date, they get hacked, and then headaches ensue.
- Exercise caution if you notice ANYTHING suspicious about ANY emails, even if they are from someone you know. If you have concerns about an attachment or email DO NOT OPEN IT. You should contact the sender and make sure that the message is valid rather than putting yourself and others on your network at risk. I’ve personally received 2 separate emails – 1 telling me that my mom posted something on Facebook about her sister (she doesn’t have a sister) and a second one telling me about companies that are “HIRING NOW!” They both look pretty real and whether or not they’re directly related to WannaCry, they were suspicious enough to delete.
- Run an antivirus application on your machine and have it scan regularly. There are a number of products, both free and paid, that can help protect you.
As the work week kicks off, larger networks could potentially be impacted, which will mean that more malicious emails will be circulating. Keep an eye out and don’t open anything suspicious.
In situations like these, the facts can change quickly as security experts and hackers do battle. Continue to exercise caution, run an antivirus scan, and ensure that your Windows machine is up to date, you can avoid being infected.