Image Credit: Pixabay
If you work in IT, or you are an employee at a major company, you may have heard about the horrible impact of the Wanna Cry ransomware. But even those who heard about Wanna Cry do not always have a proper idea of what happened. We will run down the basics of the Wanna Cry ransomware, its impact, and what lessons we can learn from this incident.
Per IT and data security experts, the Wanna Cry ransomware was the most dangerous and severe malware attack that took place in 2017. The Wanna Cry virus is a type of Trojan virus that we call ransomware. The reason why it is called ransomware is because the virus is meant to hold the computer or data servers of major companies hostage while the hacker demands a ransom so they can let go of that data.
What Did the Wanna Cry Malware Do?
The Wanna Cry ransomware worked in a surprisingly simple way. When a system became infected, the ransomware would encrypt all the data on that system and inform the user about what happened. A program pops up on the individual or company’s computer system, which indicates that all your data has been stolen and encrypted. Two timers are present on the side of the program screen, and they indicate how much payment is requested and how much time is left to pay. In addition, they showcase when your system’s files will be permanently lost if payment is not received.
Lessons to Learn
There are so many lessons we can learn from the Wanna Cry ransomware attack. The first thing everyone must know is that this attack is not over. Yes, Microsoft worked very hard to plug any security holes in their systems that the Wanna Cry ransomware exploited. However, it does not mean the attack is over or no longer a threat. Systems that are old or not properly updated are still vulnerable, while the creators of the ransomware may always find a way around Microsoft’s “fixes,” which would put the ransomware back in play on all Windows systems.
The best thing that we can do is to immediately update any system that is running a Windows OS. Whether it is XP, Server 2003, 8 or 10, every single upgrade should be run through before the system is touched again. In addition, major companies may want to think about using a data backup option such as EMC storage. While these types of storage solutions do not eliminate the threat of the virus, they ensure that even if your system is hacked and your data encrypted by Wanna Cry, a secure and accessible backup of all your data will exist.
One instinct we must avoid is to blame companies or individuals who were impacted by the virus. Using an old version of Windows or falling for a phishing email is not the reason Wanna Cry had such a huge impact. It exposed a flaw in everyone’s systems. Some companies were merely luckier than others to avoid major data loss or theft. But if our secure backups are in place, and we remain vigilant, we can ensure any further Wanna Cry attacks will have a minimal impact.