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How to protect yourself from the global ransomware attack

20 Mai 2017

With more than 300,000 computers worldwide compromised by the WannaCry ransomware in at least 150 countries, including the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, Monday was expected to be a day of reckoning for US healthcare organizations facing the file-encrypting malware.

In other words, while governments are enjoying the convenience from technology, they need to have a sense of responsibility and not to downplay the destruction security loopholes in computer networks could bring.

In some extreme cases, it might make sense to pay a ransom if you have no backups and the encrypted files are valuable, Wysopal said.

"It's no longer a cost of doing business", said R. David Edelman, who advised President Barack Obama on technology.

Who's being targeted for blame?

While you may have already read about WannaCrypt, popularly dubbed as WannaCry, ransomware, and Microsoft's response to the same, here's the story in short before we get to identifying who's at fault.

One of the major problems faced was users running on pirated versions of Windows were unable to install security updates.

What about Apple and Android devices?

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Rubin also points out that on March 14 Microsoft released a security update that addressed the very vulnerability that the WannaCry ransomware is exploiting.

Spanish firm Telefonica, French automaker Renault, the USA -based delivery service FedEx and the German railway Deutsche Bahn were among those affected. As Apple has gained more marketshare, its products have become a much bigger target for attackers.

Both hardware and software vendors often fail to account for future security flaws, and they sell firms expensive systems that eventually won't be able to receive patches. The vulnerability in Windows that WannaCry takes advantage of was discovered by the NSA for its surveillance toolkit.

Since increasing numbers of systems running older versions of Windows were affected, Microsoft had chose to push an emergency patch for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, urging users to deploy the patch as soon as possible to limit the impact of WannaCry.

Microsoft is now warning that the government practice of "stockpiling" software vulnerabilities so that they can be used as weapons is a misguided tactic that weakens security for everybody.

While the ransomware disrupted telecommunications companies, hospitals and other organizations globally, Bossert emphasized during the daily White House press briefing held Monday afternoon that the "U.S. infection rate has been lower than many parts of the world" with only a "small number of affected parties in the U.S".

How can I protect myself? If you have been regularly updating your Windows OS, then you are protected against WannaCry for now.

Fortunately the situation was not as bad as previously thought, probably because networking experts at companies and government agencies around the world updated their softwares over the weekend to block the infiltration of the virus.