On Friday, a global ransomware cyber-attack was discovered seriously impacting the UK’s National Health Service and many other organisations.

It’s almost impossible to have missed the catastrophic news of the ransomware attack that hit the National Health Service on Friday. Over the weekend the NHS have gone to severe lengths to try and prevent the malware from spreading and infecting more computers.

The damage of the global attack was all produced by one piece of ransomware now known as the ‘WannaCry Decryptor’. Ransomware is a piece of malicious software that encrypts data, users are threatened that their data will be lost unless a large payment is made. The malware has infected 200,000 machines in 150 countries since Friday and the number is still rising rapidly. NHS bosses and IT security professionals fear that this is simply the beginning, as more computers are expected to become infected.

It has been discovered that the malware took advantage of a vulnerability in something called the ‘Server Message Block’ which Microsoft released a patch for in March to its supported operating systems. Machines that are running unsupported operating systems or haven’t been updated since March are vulnerable to attacks and must be updated immediately to prevent being targeted.

Generally, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP in 2014, since then they have released new operating systems like Windows 10, which they support by consistently releasing security updates, protecting users from such attacks.

Microsoft have a patch available for the “WannaCry” malware for all Windows PCs. It is imperative all PCs are updated immediately to prevent the risk of infection, especially Windows XP machines and any machines running Office 2013 and Exchange 2013.

It’s important to remember that virtually all ransomware attacks are caused by users being tricked into clicking on a dangerous link, which then delivers the files to the user’s device.

We recommend all Cyber Wise members and subscribers to visit the Cyber Wise website and check out our recent blog for more information regarding the “WannaCry” malware. Cyber Wise members should check out our recommended tools and interactive courses that educate and arm users, to help you stay secure and protected from such attacks.

We have linked Microsoft’s patches for the “WannaCry” ransomware. These patches should be handed to your IT manager to ensure the right version is installed to your computers. Alternatively, see how we can help by calling us on 0161 476 8276 or emailing itsupport@hallidays.co.uk.