'WannaCry' cyber attack: How to protect your computer

Marlene Weaver
May 23, 2017

White House Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert said WannaCry has not infected the federal government's systems but the U.S.is working to identify the culprits and a foreign government may be involved.

A United Kingdom -based security researcher who goes by the name MalwareTech put a stop to the spread of WannaCry on Friday by registering a domain name he discovered in the ransomware's code.

If you're using Windows XP, which Microsoft stopped supporting years ago, get the emergency patch it released to block WannaCry.

"Like many other companies, FedEx is experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware", the spokesperson said in a statement.

In what one of the most significant cyberattacks ever recorded, computer systems from the U.K.to Russia, Brazil and the US were hit beginning Friday by malicious software that exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows operating system. "Free versions are good, but they don't protect you as much as the pay versions".

According to Microsoft itself, numerous companies that were infected with WannaCry were either using outdated Windows OS versions or were sticking with Windows XP, which is practically considered a fossil at this point.

Two months after Microsoft issued its security patch, thousands of computers remained vulnerable to the WannaCry attack.

They know it is not a good look to be caught out by ransomware hackers.

Chris Camacho, chief strategy officer at the cybersecurity firm Flashpoint, told ABC News that health care companies were particularly ripe for ransomware attacks like this one because patient records are so critical to care. So MalwareTech bought the domain name himself, hoping to use it to track WannaCry as it spread.

Moreover, with rampant piracy in the country, higher usage of unlicensed software could make the situation worse, they warned. So, is the threat over? Most often the malicious software encrypts important files, making them unreadable, and often locks the computer.

The tool was said to have been created by the NSA - though, as is typical, the agency has neither confirmed nor denied this. Why would somebody do this? There are also other theories.

There are a number of tools publicly available to limit the spread and the impact of further cyber security attacks.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had on Sunday issued an advisory, asking banks to put in place a software update at ATMs to prevent their systems being hacked.

Other reports by Insurance News

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