Things to Know About the 'WannaCry' Ransomware Attack

Posted May 19, 2017

Redmond, Wash. - In the wake of unprecedented worldwide cyberattacks, Microsoft has issued security updates for systems that haven't been supported in years. Additionally, sometimes data can be recovered without paying the ransom.

The cyber attack has been deemed as the biggest in history even as IT specialists suggest that the cyber criminals responsible have not made many monetary benefits.

If I were on Windows, I'd take all this very seriously.

In an analysis posted today, Finnish cybersecurity firm F-Secure explains that China and Russian Federation are two of the countries most severely hit by WannaCry, and there's a reason why this happened: the big number of computers running pirated Windows.

However, the Financial Times report points out that Windows XP users are still expected to pay extra if they want security and it now stands at $1,000 per device. This money would be paid in the digital currency bitcoin to an unknown source, who would - in theory, at least - provide a decryption key to unlock the system.

This goes for WannaCry and any other malware floating around out there.

According to Microsoft itself, numerous companies that were infected with WannaCry were either using outdated Windows OS versions or were sticking with Windows XP, which is practically considered a fossil at this point.

The first variant with a different kill switch domain reportedly started spreading on Sunday morning and was quickly followed by an updated version that removed the kill switch.

You must install a fix released by Microsoft to prevent further infections and propagation.

But as the WannaCry ransomware attack shows, this could be the beginning of something worse to come.

To further ensure that your files stay safe, it's highly advisable to back up all essential data, preferably on an external hard drive or some other solution that doesn't involve LAN networks. Keep all your softwares up-to-date. If these companies are found guilty of being negligent on their security updates, they could be in a lot of trouble.

If there's anything, Microsoft should indeed be appreciated for their response on the entire issue. People have to be really aware and vigilant.