You will have seen the media coverage regarding ransomware and the cyber attack on the NHS and other global organisations.
If you use Microsoft Operating Systems you need to be aware of the dangers and take precautions.
This version of ransomware is called WannaCry, WannaCrypt or WannaDecrypt.
There are many ways that this ransomware can infect an IT system, but perhaps the most common is when someone clicks on an email attachment.
The ransomware is activated by double clicking an attachment or it may be activated automatically when browsing the web.
A patch was released by Microsoft in March 2017 to deal with this vulnerability, for supported operating systems which include Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Server 2012, Sever 2008 and Server 2008R2.
Microsoft has just re-written a patch to work on older unsupported operating systems, i.e. Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows 2003. This requires manual intervention to deploy and will not download automatically.
Note that the patch may already be installed on your operating systems. However, if you haven’t rebooted a server or workstation since the patch was installed then it won’t have been applied and you are NOT protected.
Paul Page, Head of Support and Customer Relations at Sharp-aX Limited commented:
“The key points to make from a technical perspective are:
1) Don’t use out of date software, and implement patches as often as possible.
2) Be suspicious of attachments on emails and do not rely on staff not opening them.
3) Strong anti-virus software is a must, such as Sophos which can be supplied and installed from Sharp-aX Computer Systems Ltd
4) Plan that your defences will fail, what is your recovery plan? How long will it take?
5) Lastly, don’t panic. These type of viruses have been prevalent for some time now and whilst customers can, and do lose data to these attacks, the steps above will help minimise the long term pain.”
Here is a message that was sent to Sharp-aX customers: “If you don’t have our professional Sophos AntiVirus protection & Offsite BackUpVault – please check what precautions you do have in place to protect your company data. Microsoft advise that customers running older operating systems, including Server 2003, XP Pro & Windows 8 are extremely vulnerable. We have servers and PCs ready built in stock. If you are unsure please contact support – will are here to help.”
Posted: 15th May 2017