You may have heard about the WannaCry ransomware attack that affected computer users worldwide (see this BBC story for the full details along with some technical details at Bleeping Computer). If Weston patches your Windows systems as part of our CompleteCare or other managed patching services, we applied a Microsoft patch to your covered machines back in mid-March that will help protect your computer from this particular ransomware (we also forced the install of the patch recently for machines that hadn’t been online for a while). However, this is yet another reminder to be extremely vigilant about what links you click on and what emails you open. Backups and business continuity planning are also critical if you are infected (read our recent whitepaper for more information on the Business Guide to Ransomware).
Even if you get an email and attachment from someone that you know, if you were not expecting it, contact that person and make sure it was sent by them. Many of these attacks utilize software that will attempt to impersonate an email user and send an email to everyone in their contact list.
If you are a HIPAA-regulated environment (or even if you’re not), we recommend reading our blog article on ransomware and HIPAA and the various ways you can help protect yourself.
Backups are still the best way to protect yourself. If you do manage to get encrypted with early variants of WannaCry, don’t reboot your computer as the recently-released Wannakey tool might be able to get the encryption keys. The early versions of the malware were poorly written and had a kill switch that slowed things down from becoming a lot worse than it was (new variants have since fixed those flaws).
It’s a brave new world out there, stay vigilant.
— Your Weston Support Team