A Warning About WannaCry Ransomware

Why updating your PC is more important than ever due to WannaCry

WannaCry image by Zephyr P (via Shutterstock).

Don’t want to cry over WannaCry? Updating your devices and computers is an absolute must. Once unleashed, it can wreak havoc from system to system. Image by Zephyr P (via Shutterstock).

Over the last three months, one form of ransomware has dominated the computing scene more than most. That of WannaCry, also known as WCry and WannaCrypt. It has been traced from North Korea and the USA. In May, it affected 47 NHS organisations, with the source of the National Health Service’s attack being the USA’s National Security Agency’s spying tools.

Whereas ransomware can affect one computer user, WannaCry affects a number of computer systems along the same lines as the carrier. Within less than 24 hours, May’s attack infected 100,000 Windows PCs and devices, especially systems that haven’t been patched since March 2017. 57% of which were in Russia. The NHS’ computer systems were affected, due to having 5% of the world’s Windows XP user base.

It was thought that Windows XP machines would have been affected the most. Instead, the largest share of WannaCry attacks were on Windows 7 PCs. May’s attack also affected FedEx, Santander, and Renault.

With WannaCry, an infected PC receives a ransom note once an attachment is double clicked. Firstly, files are encrypted, even if you choose to override User Account Control on Windows. You then see a ransom message saying your files are being encrypted. Gobbledegook is seen instead of your precious Word or Excel files.

The WannaCry ransom screen gives the user three days to retrieve their files. Besides the laborious task of clicking the ‘Decrypt’ button for each file, it recommends paying the equivalent of $300 (£229.62) in Bitcoin (0.12803 Bitcoins). This, as well as leaving a £229.62 shaped hole in your bank account, gets your PC back to normal.

To avoid this occurring, we recommend updating your software regularly. Most importantly, do not open executable files (.EXE file extension) that you do not know about. This video by Wired Zero shows you how WannaCry works and it is not very pretty:

Net Sixty Six SEO, 19 July 2017.

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