The ransomware cryptoworm named WannaCry or WannaCrypt, focuses on computers running Microsoft Windows operating systems and spreads across local networks and the Internet to systems, directly infecting any exposed systems. Data is encrypted and then ransom payments are demanded.
The attack started on May 12, 2017 and within 24 hours it reportedly infected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. A security update to remove the vulnerability was issued by Microsoft on March 14, 2017, nearly 2 months before the attacks. However many organizations had not applied it or did not have Windows Update turned on. Those still running unsupported operating systems, such as, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, were at particular risk. Since the attack, Microsoft made the unprecedented decision to release the security update to these end of life systems.
Following is an exert from a blog by Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer for Microsoft.
“… this attack demonstrates the degree to which cybersecurity has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers. The fact that so many computers remained vulnerable two months after the release of a patch illustrates this aspect. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems. Otherwise they’re literally fighting the problems of the present with tools from the past. This attack is a powerful reminder that information technology basics like keeping computers current and patched are a high responsibility for everyone, and it’s something every top executive should support.”
Are your systems updated?!