The WannaCry Ransomware attack that happened on 12 May, 2017 was the first of its kind that was triggered on such a large scale and using the specific modus operandi of locking up access to systems data until a ransom was paid. Within a span of less than an hour, nearly 200,000 computers across as many as 150 countries were affected by this malware.
While most malware gain access to computer systems through email and spam mail attachments, this one took a different route. The virus was deployed by the attackers in the Microsoft servers that were not updated with the appropriate patch after March 14, 2017. Hacker group ShadowBrokers have claimed to be the force behind this hack which took down websites of many UK hospitals, telecom companies in Spain, a few Russian government sites and FedEx offices in the UK.
Security experts state that there are proven ways of preventing such attacks in the future. These precautions are recommended:
– Never click on a link that is unknown and unfamiliar
– Backup your computer information and database at regular intervals
– Install the security patch that Microsoft has released after the cyber-attack incident
– Don’t open email links and attachments from unknown sources
– Upgrade your system to Windows 10 to optimize security. WannaCry works only on Windows OS that are unpatched.
– Ports 139, 445 and 3389 must be promptly blocked in firewall.
– Using a pop-blocker on your web browser is a smart idea
According to cyber security experts, WannaCry Ransomware is most likely to infect computers that are running on Windows 7, 2008 and XP as these are outdated systems with less than adequate security levels. It is better to remove Windows NT4, 2000 and XP from production processes. They also suggest disabling the SMB service which is enabled by default on Windows OS.