By in Cyber Security

WannaCry! Ransomware

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The NHS (among many others globally) was affected by an outbreak of malware known as WannaCry! last Friday causing widespread problems and a frenzy of media coverage.

The facts you should know about the WannaCry! malware:

  • The malware is called “WannaCry”
  • It is a type of “ransomware” which encrypts the files of infected machines to extort money from the victim
  • Only machines with Windows 8 or below are potentially vulnerable (Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 are not)
  • Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability used by the malware to spread from one machine to another on 14th March 2017
  • Apple Macs are not affected
  • The malware in its current form has been stopped by researchers who were able to invoke a kill switch built into the malware itself
  • Variants of the malware may appear on the internet this week

What your IT team should be doing:

  • Making sure that servers and workstations routinely patched at least monthly
  • The protocol (SMB version 1) which the malware uses to spread itself should be disabled where possible
  • Ensuring antivirus is installed and up to date on all machines
  • Implementing strong backup and data protection procedures

What you can do:

  • Restart your PC – Updates and patches require a reboot to take effect and regular reboots ensure they are applied
  • Phishing emails are the most common way of getting past IT security so as always, exercise caution:

We’ll be writing a follow-up article soon on the general threat of malware and the things that can be done to protect your precious data.

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