New WannaCry Ransomeware Emerging and How To Protect Yourself

Big Island ARRL News, 15 May 2017, 01:35 hrs, UTC, Post #196.


Accessed on 15 May 2017, 01:35 hrs, UTC.

Author:  Mark Maunder of Wordfence Security.

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I usually reserve this blog for Amateur Radio news and events.  However, because of the recent uptick in PCs and websites affected by the malicious ransomware called “WannaCry”, I feel it important to warn my fellow radio amateurs, especially those using outdated versions of the Windows OS (especially XP), about the threat presented by this ransomware variant.

According to Wordfence Security’s Mark Maunder, a second wave of the Wanna Cry ransomware appears to have started within the past several hours.  Maunder says “this is going to be a rough weekend for Windows users.”

So far, WannaCry, which uses a SMB exploit and not phishing to penetrate outdated Windows OS systems, has crippled more than 100,000 PC in approximately 100 countries worldwide.  Hospitals, transportation systems, communications, and government services have been damaged or put out of commission.  Wanna Cry is particularly effective against Windows XP, which hasn’t been supported for at least three years. Maunder believes the ongoing malware attack is one of the worst exploits in many years.

Microsoft is aware of the problem and issued a patch in March 2017 which covers the Windows 10 OS. Maunder says there are a few things you can do to mitigate the damage already done by this malicious software:

“WannaCry Ransomware: How to protect yourself

  1. If you use Windows, install the patch that Microsoft has released to block the specific exploit that the WannaCry ransomware is using. You can find instructions on this page in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. You can also directly download the patches for your OS from the Microsoft Update Catalog.
  2. If you are using an unsupported version of Windows like Windows XP, Windows 2008 or Server 2003, you can get the patches for your unsupported OS from the Update Catalog. We do recommend that you update to a supported version of Windows as soon as possible.
  3. Update your Antivirus software definitions. Most AV vendors have now added detection capability to block WannaCry.
  4. If you don’t have anti-virus software enabled on your Windows machine, we recommend you enable Windows Defender which is free.
  5. Backup regularly and make sure you have offline backups. That way, if you are infected with ransomware, it can’t encrypt your backups.
  6. For further reading, Microsoft has released customer guidance for the WannaCry attacks and Troy Hunt has done an excellent detailed writeup on the WannaCry ransomware.

Get the word out

The second wave of attacks appears to have just started within the past few hours. This is going to be a rough week for Windows users. We recommend you get the word out by sharing this post to help keep friends and family secure.”

If you haven’t upgraded your PC to the Windows 10 OS, please do so as soon as possible.

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Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM).

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section