Users of Windows need to be notified ASAP of a new ransomware strain and take immediate measures to patch.
Specifically, on May 12, 2017 a new strain of the Ransom.CryptXXX (WannaCry) strain of ransomware began spreading widely impacting a large number of organizations, particularly in Europe.
Wcry is demanding a ransom of $300 to $600 in Bitcoin to be paid by May 15, or, in the event that deadline is missed, a higher fee by May 19. The messages left on the screen say files will remain encrypted. It’s not yet clear if there are flaws in the encryption scheme that might allow the victims to restore the files without paying the ransom.
If you have yet to install the Microsoft fix—MS17-010— you should do so immediately. You should also be extremely suspicious of all e-mails you receive, particularly those that ask the recipient to open attached documents or click on Web links.
All clients on our managed services program receive regular patching maintenance and security checks to prevent attacks from infecting your systems.
If you have seen nonstandard activity and believe your customers’ information may have been exposed, please contact Techtron Support
What are best practices for protecting against ransomware?
- Always keep your security software up to date to protect yourself against them.
- Keep your operating system and other software updated. Software updates will frequently include patches for newly discovered security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by ransomware attackers.
- Email is one of the main infection methods. Be wary of unexpected emails especially if they contain links and/or attachments.
- Be extremely wary of any Microsoft Office email attachment that advises you to enable macros to view its content. Unless you are absolutely sure that this is a genuine email from a trusted source, do not enable macros and instead immediately delete the email.
- Backing up important data is the single most effective way of combating ransomware infection. Attackers have leverage over their victims by encrypting valuable files and leaving them inaccessible. If the victim has backup copies, they can restore their files once the infection has been cleaned up. However organizations should ensure that back-ups are appropriately protected or stored off-line so that attackers can’t delete them.
- Using cloud services could help mitigate ransomware infection, since many retain previous versions of files, allowing you to “roll back” to the unencrypted form.