It was on March 14th that Microsoft had released a security update which was meant to address the vulnerability which was found in windows XP OS. The main vulnerability that was exploited by hackers had led to the ransomware attack which in turn led to a huge havoc in more than 150 nations.
This vulnerability was mainly exploited by WannaCrypt. Hackers went on to demand thousands of dollars from those users whose system had been hacked and rendered inaccessible. From couplers in hospitals in Britain to even police stations in India, everything was deeply impacted.
When Microsoft released the patch for the vulnerability, some of the XP users ended up installing the update which was called “Microsoft security bulletin MS17-010.” At that time, as many as 150 million computers were running windows XP. Those who didn’t pay any kind of heed whatsoever to the Windows XP patch were the ones who succumbed to the ransomware attack and ended in deep trouble.
Microsoft which later discontinued the security updates to the software which had become out of date did further offer a security update for those customers who were using Windows 8 and even Windows server 2003 because they anticipated that such attacks could be caused again and it might once again impact millions of people.
As per the Philip Misner, the principal security group manager of Microsoft security response centre, “customers who are running supported versions of the operating system (Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016) will have received the security update MS17-010 in March. If customers have automatic updates enabled or have installed the update, they are protected. For other customers, we encourage them to install the update as soon as possible,”
In the meanwhile. WannaCrypt ended up locking the machines and even encrypted some of the files and they demanded as much as $600 in Bitcoin for simply a recovery key.
By choosing to install the patch from Microsoft that was designed to close the vulnerability, you can thwart lot of such unwanted attacks. You should ensure that the security solutions which are offered are switched on all nodes preset in the network.
As per Subhendu Sahu, Acting Country Manager for India, FireEye; the ransomware is one of the biggest threats to the organizations that make use of potentially vulnerable windows machines. Even the best of security experts are of the opinion that there is a possibility of follow-on attacks. Hackers work day in and day out looking for some of the best ways by which they can target the vulnerabilities and gain unwanted and unauthorized access to different users.
All those investigators who were working on the ransomware attack detection believe that this attack should be seen as a wakeup call and the right actions should be taken because it is likely that such attacks will be repeated in the times to come and it can have an even larger magnitude and even greater impact as well.
When the world came to know of these attacks, leading antivirus companies like McAfee started to work on it. They analyzed the samples of the attack and developed the right kind of updates for detection and mitigation purpose as well. McAfee has even provided DAT updates to all their customers and are also working on further analysis of the attacks to assist their customers better.
If you still use windows XP, we will recommend you to go for an immediate upgrade. The impact of the attack was so whopping and the kind of money which the hackers could make is a proof that they are bound to come back again and maybe with something that can be way larger in magnitude.
So, if you do not want to succumb to internet attacks, it is best advised to draw your first line of security. Leaving a vulnerability exposed is calling for trouble. By choosing to implement the right updates, you can be hopeful of improved security and lesser chance of attack. This could help you save a great deal of money as well.