The WannaCry Ransomware Threat

The Worldwide Ransomware Attack

by Austin | May 16, 2017

WannaCry is the most recent variant of ransomware malware.


Key points

Ransomware malware is delivered as a Trojan through a loaded hyperlink. The hyperlink can be accidentally opened by a victim through an email, advert on a webpage or a Dropbox link. Once it has been activated, the program spreads through the computer and locks all the files with encryption.

Once the files have been encrypted it deletes the originals and delivers a ransom note in the form of a readme file. It also changes the victim's wallpaper to a message demanding payment to return (decrypt) the files.

The special danger in the WannaCry ransomware is that it will also spread throughout your network via a Windows vulnerability. A patch was released for this vulnerability by Microsoft in March.

The exploit code that is used to spread throughout your network is designed to work only against unpatched Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 or earlier OS systems, so Windows 10 PCs are not affected by this network spread. But Windows 10 machines can potentially still be affected by the initial WannaCry infection.

What you can do to protect yourself

As with any ransomware, protecting your system and preventing infection and downtime requires a multi-faceted approach. New variants are always being produced, so no single method will protect you from ransomware. Here are some things you should have in place.


Email antispam/email filtering:

Prevent the emails entering your network

Antivirus:

Block infections and remove infections (will not protect against "zero-day exploits").

Windows updates:

Patch vulnerabilities that allow this malware to spread.

Backup:

The most important protection is backing up your valuable information, as any system configuration can be recovered as long as your important information is protected.

Protect your important files via backup so if you get infected your files can be recovered.

You will need a detached backup to protect against ransomware, as any device that remains connected to the computer will be infected. Offsite internet-based backup is best.

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About the author

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