On March 14, Microsoft released a security update for Windows XP to curtail hackers hackers utilizing “WannaCrypt” as a ransomware attack to cripple computers using the particular operating system in 150 countries. As institutions worldwide lost control of their data, hackers demanded heavy monetary compensation in exchange for returning access.
Germany’s rail network Deutsche Bahn, Spanish telecommunications operator Telefonica, US logistics giant FedEx and Russia’s interior ministry are a few of the significant organizations that have been targeted. Other areas where major businesses have slowed down considerably due to this ransomware include Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan and China. While “WannaCrypt” locked machines, encrypted files, Microsoft released updates towards securing desktops and laptops but not all users installed them.
According to Subhendu Sahu, Acting Country Manager for India, FireEye, the ransomware poses high risks to organisations using potentially vulnerable Windows machines. This worldwide attack has posed as a wake up call for Microsoft and also led software security providers to amplify anti-malware software. For instance, McAfee delivered DAT updates to all its customers.
As precaution, all XP users need to patch immediately, install upgrades as well as back up their files. Although WannaCrypt won’t work across internet for PCs though firewall or router, a server connected with an infected computer can spread this ransomware rather quickly to others on the same network.