As most of you have heard by now through various news sources, the NHS and other industries were the victims of a worldwide cyber-attack! What you may have not known is the most recent spread has been paused, however, the damage has already been done.
Ransomware has been around for some time and unfortunately, it is here to stay, as hackers look to gain large financial rewards, normally in the form of BitCoin; an untraceable Crypotcurrency.
What makes this particular case different from the usual spread of Ransomware (user interaction with fake sites / emails) is the current reports are correct in this instance, that it was spread be a secondary computer weakness in the Microsoft Operating System. Windows XP or any non-supported operating system – especially if the machine is connected to the internet or any large networks – but in the case where this is the only option, extra measures can be taken to reduce the inherent risks.
Interestingly it looks like the vulnerability was found in many Operating Systems and of course an update has been made available to solve this. However, some systems may have installed the update, but many servers and workstations which have been up for long periods of time without a reboot, may not have had the chance to allow the updates to take effect.
The point we are trying to get across is not to make a quick pound off the back of panicking customers, but to ask everyone to be even more careful than usual when visiting sites especially on Monday morning. We would recommend that you check all emails with attachments multiple times even if they look like they are from a known contact, as we fear that variations and copycat attacks could be more than likely over the next couple of weeks taking advantage of the current weakness.
Always ask yourself does the email look normal and is this normal behaviour of the contact to send this type of file / style / wording etc. and of course do you really need to open it.
If you’re not sure it never hurts when possible to call them and check.