Having a managed services provider, such as Hungate Business Services, is one way to ensure your office’s operating systems are adequately protected against malware attacks – such as those perpetrated by WannaCry, the ransomware that hit on May 12, 2017.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects and restricts access to a computer until a ransom is paid. Considered the most damaging cyber attack in global history, WannaCry has already carried out more than 230,000 attacks on businesses, hospitals and government offices in more than 150 countries. Currently, most hits have been outside the United States; however, experts predict American-based firms and organizations will likely to be the next target.
WannaCry spreads by taking advantage of a Windows vulnerability for which Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) released a security patch this past March (2017). Obviously, numerous computer networks around the world neglected to update their operating systems with the patch – which left them vulnerable.
One of the functions Hungate regularly carries out as a Managed Services Provider (MSP) is to continually monitor clients’ hardware and software for vulnerabilities – particularly related to security patches. We also teach clients best practices related to cyber hygiene, which has become an increasingly important factor in maintaining cyber security.
How Patches Work
Similar to the way fabric patches are used to repair holes in clothing, software patches repair holes in software programs. Patches are updates that fix a particular problem or vulnerability within a program. Sometimes, instead of just releasing a patch, vendors will release an upgraded version of their software, although they may refer to the upgrade as a patch.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security maintains that WannaCry is continuing to scan for computers that don’t have the patch. If you currently have concerns about the security of your office’s operating systems, call us at 276-243-4026 or email our help desk at [email protected] We will work with you to establish the best plan for bolstering all areas of your organization’s cyber security.
Best Safety Practices per the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:
- Be careful when clicking directly on links in emails, even if the sender appears to be known; attempt to verify web addresses independently (e.g., contact your organization’s helpdesk or search the Internet for the main website of the organization or topic mentioned in the email).
- Exercise caution when opening email attachments. Be particularly wary of compressed or ZIP file attachments.
- Follow best practices for Server Message Block (SMB) and update to the latest version immediately. (See US-CERT’s SMBv1 Current Activity for more information.)
- Ensure that your applications and operating system has been patched with the latest updates. Vulnerable applications and operating systems are the target of most attacks.