A ransomware named “WCry” or “WannaCrypt” currently has the world on their toes after it managed to infect 75,000 systems in 100 countries. The worm used a tool developed by the National Security Agency that was leaked and demanded $300 in Bitcoin to unlock encrypted files. The ransom demand would double after three days, following which all the encrypted files would be deleted if the users do not pay. In the wake of this massive attack, Microsoft has started issuing security patches to its older operating systems, Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.
Microsoft had issued a security update this March for attacks of these kinds, and the older Windows versions mentioned above did not receive them since the company had stopped supporting them. Since the operating systems, Windows XP, 8 and Server 2003 do not receive routine updates and only custom support, these systems are at grave risk of being infected by the worm. Microsoft also states that all its operating systems other than three mentioned should download the update. It clarifies that Windows 10 systems were not affected by the attack. Microsoft in its blog post says, “This decision was made based on an assessment of this situation, with the principle of protecting our customer ecosystem overall, firmly in mind.”
Microsoft also advises that organizations which do not have Windows Update enabled, should immediately deploy Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010. In addition to this, Microsoft has also released an update for Windows Defender which will detect this threat as Ransom:Win32/WannaCrypt. ALSO READ: Microsoft Build 2017: Here are all the biggest announcements from the two-day developer conference
Microsoft in its blog post writes, “We also know that some of our customers are running versions of Windows that no longer receive mainstream support. That means those customers will not have received the above mentioned Security Update released in March. Given the potential impact to customers and their businesses, we made the decision to make the Security Update for platforms in custom support only, Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003, broadly available for download.”
Microsoft warns that this attack could evolve over time and thus this update should be downloaded immediately. Microsoft further says that these kinds of attacks come through malicious attachments and customers are warned not to open documents from unknown sources. Microsoft is also constantly on the watch for Office 365 customers against these kinds of threats. ALSO READ: Andhra Pradesh’s police departments affected by ‘WannaCry’ ransomware
The effect of the WannaCrypt ransomware led to hospitals in the UK shutting their systems off and using pen and paper for resuming their work. The NHS England declared this attack as a ‘major incident’ leading to 45 NHS organizations being affected by the Wannacrypt worm. Moreover, many organizations had to turn off their systems with companies like FedEx remaining offline for the weekend. ALSO READ: Maharashtra police department too hit by WannaCry ransomware