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WannaCry Ransomware – What You Need to Know
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WannaCry Ransomware: What You Need to Know

WannaCry Ransomware – What You Need to Know

Wanna Cry?

If all the world’s a stage, then the third week of May 2017 was one eventful play with internet hackers giving their best impression of Dr. Evil’s ransom speech in the film Austin Powers:  International Man of Mystery.  Fortunately, for the United States, fewer networks and companies appear to have been affected, which wasn’t the case for those hardest hit in Asia and Eastern Europe who are vulnerable to higher rates of pirated versions of Windows operating systems, and less security prevention.

Platinum Systems is no stranger to virus and ransomware rapid response, but have not faced a worm with the kind of crippling potential that WannaCry/WannaCrypt and its numerous variants had on many. This threat was taken very seriously - with Platinum Systems’ teams jumping into preventative action.  Our customers were contacted immediately to keep clients up to date on the latest details, and recommendations on patching important security updates.  For our PtMT – Managed Technology and PtRM – Remote Managed customers, the risks were non-existent as a proactive approach to IT support is at the heart of these services.  For customers not enjoying the benefits of managed service, it was a much riskier and time sensitive threat.

 

What is Known

Microsoft issued an important announcement on May 12, 2017 detailing known vulnerabilities, along with links to security patches and security procedures.   According to the NCCIC, National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, WannaCry is a ransomware that contains a worm component.  It attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in Windows SMBv1 server compromising operating systems, encrypting files, spreading to hosts, and demanding Bitcoin payment for file restoration.

A review of Microsoft’s Security Bulletin from March 14, 2017, shows the critical nature of this security update, made available for all versions of Windows.  Systems with the Microsoft security patch MS17-010 installed are not vulnerable.  The original patch for this vulnerability was released in March of 2017.  However, many computers and systems that did not stay up-to-date with security updates were subject to the attack.

Why Windows XP?

In an unprecedented move, Microsoft released patch MS17-010 for Windows XP operating systems due to the high volume of factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems still in use in major countries like Brazil, Spain, Japan, and Russia, among others.  This should serve as a wakeup call to institutes in the United States still operating decommissioned operating systems.  With cyber-crime increasing by the year, having an up-to-date network and strong backup solution in place is the first step to keeping your business or organization secure.

The U.S. Government does not encourage paying ransomware as it does not guarantee decryption or removal of malware.  To report cyber security incidents, the NCCIC can be contacted at ics-cert@hq.dhs.gov or 877-776-7585.

What You Can Do

It’s easy to see just how vital security updates are.  Ignoring them can have very serious consequences.  Though it is one of many necessary lines of defense, having an up-to-date antivirus software is still not enough to combating new viruses that are in a constant state of creation.  So, what can you do?

  • Avoid clicking suspicious email links or attachments from unknown individuals and organizations.
  • If you are still using End-of-Life operating systems, initiate a replacement plan immediately by calling Platinum Systems at 888-910-4407.
  • If you are still using an outdated tape backup system, implement a Data Backup and Disaster Recovery solution such as PtCB – Cloud Backup.
  • If you do not have an up-to-date anti-virus, implement our AVG – CloudCare antivirus solution for world-class internet protection.
  • If you do not have a strong group policy, contact Platinum Systems to set up restrictions to block executables from running in compressed files.
  • If you do not have an email filtering solution in place, implement our PtMX – Email Filtering service for anti-spam and malware defense protection.
  • If you are struggling to maintain network security and improve your technology performance, include one of Platinum Systems’ Support offerings such as:

PtMT – Managed Technology 24/7 network monitoring and alerting which includes:

  • IT Support
  • Server and PC Management
  • Domain Management and DNS Hosting
  • Exchange or Office 365 Administration
  • AVG CloudCare
  • PtMX - Email Filtering
  • PtCB – Cloud Backup
  • Dedicated vCIO to analyze and plan for business needs

PtRM – Remote Monitoring monthly support which includes:

  • Comprehensive monthly technology review and health summary
  • Automatic updates and security patching to Windows and Microsoft Office
  • Automatic application updates (Java, Adobe Reader, Chrome, Firefox, and more!)
  • Anti-virus review and backup verification
  • Automatic server optimization (workstations optional but strongly recommended)
  • Automatic router / switch / access point backups (Cisco only)
  • Dedicated vCIO to analyze and plan for your business needs
  • Dedicated help desk technicians for priority support
  • Annual onsite business review meeting

Wanna Smile?

In a world rampant with ransomware and viruses, partnering with Platinum Systems will give you reasons to smile again.  Let our full range of support services help keep your business up-to-date and secure.  If your business has been the victim of ransomware, or you are on borrowed time with aging network devices, contact us at 888-910-4407 to get the conversation started.  We’re here help!

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