The Wannacry Ransomware Incident, by far the most devastating cyberattack ever, has made headlines all over the world, attacking over 150 countries and 200,000 Windows machines. After such a widespread incident we are left with many questions; How did this happen, who is behind the attack, and how can I protect myself? Perhaps most importantly, is this just the beginning?
How Did This Happen?
This specific strain of Ransomware took advantage of a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows – it is important to note that it only affected computers that were not securely patched / updated. A security patch was released in March, but machines not recently updated were left vulnerable.
Who Is Behind the Attack?
It is unsure as of yet who is behind the attack, with some sources suggesting North Korea
Is There More to Come?
This is the question of the hour – and the answer is we simply do not know. It could be that this was just a trial run for something bigger; there is no doubt that this attack was a “success” in the eyes of the culprits. Or it could have been the end of this specific deployment method.
According to Mike Gerwing, Technical Services Manager of Frontier Solutions Inc., the best way to prevent this attack and any future attack is through the following steps:
- Regular Patching / Windows Updates
- Robust and frequent backups
- Do not open suspicious emails or attachments. If in doubt, call the sender to verify attachments.
- Having layered security in place including a sound Virus Scanner, Spam Filtering, and Firewall
Whether this truly is the end of this specific strain is essentially irrelevant — there are always up and coming Ransomware attacks, so taking the above precautions will ensure that you are taking all of the necessary steps to not becoming the next victim of Ransomware. Remember: the best tool in Cyber Security is awareness.