What we learned from the Wannacry Ransomware Attack

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Last week, on the same day, hackers launched a ransomware attack on more than 200,000 computers hailing from more than 150 countries. Although the attack gave a nightmare to users by locking them from data access, it also helped in making us learn a good lesson i.e. never ignore the security factor in this digital world.

Many media reports fueled by the support of some researcher’s compiled reports say that the hackers behind this crime were from North Korea. Reason, the wanna cry code matches the cyber attack code launched on Sony Pictures in 2015 where North Korean Lazarus hacking group was proved as guilty.

So, the very first lesson we need to learn from this attack is that they are some nations on the prowl who want the global digital world to come to a halt for obvious reasons. Thus, companies irrespective of their public or private status should shore up their defenses against nation-state hacking.

The other lesson which we need to learn is that it is not always beneficial to pay the ransom in such cases. Since it not only encourages others to carry out crimes, but there is a high probability of hackers vanishing without handing over the decryption code.

At a recent press briefing, the White House Homeland security adviser McMaster confirmed that no one who paid the ransom in Wanna cry ransomware attack had their files restored.
The cyber attack also brings a fact to our notice that we all have the responsibility to protect our own devices, instead of playing a blame-game.

Therefore, what follows is the need to practice basic device hygiene. Here, the word, the device has been applied due to the fact that the ransomware threat not only applies to Microsoft service users but also applies to all those using Macs, Android Phones, iPhones and even connected devices like smart TVs, smart refrigerators, baby cameras, door locks and connected cars.

According to security experts, the best way to protect ourselves from such ransomware attacks is to have the latest version of the operating system and make sure it updates with the latest patches on an automatic note. Experts are stressing a lot on this fact because once a threat has been identified; companies making operating systems issue patches to fix the vulnerabilities. And if your system or device misses it out, then trouble can emerge out within no time.

In Wanna cry case, Microsoft has already issued patches to its users who are using Windows 7 and 8 operating systems. Those using the dead and extinct XP, you better move to the latest Windows 10.

As per a report prepared by Symantec, many of those affected by Wanna cry were using Windows XP for which the support has been stopped by Microsoft almost 2 and a half years ago.

The other lesson which we need to learn from the latest ransomware attack is to keep our PCs well protected with anti-malware solutions like the free Windows Defender. You can also go for a premium version of anti-malware solution from Trend Micro, Symantec, Norton, and other companies.

The other thing we need to keep in mind in order to stay out of ransomware troubles in cyberspace is that never click or open on email links attached as files and never fill in the info related to our bank accounts, social security numbers and other personal details in those links. Remember, all these mistakes can cost you a million in no time.

It is always important to have strong and unique passwords or other forms of authentication in order to keep ourselves isolated from all sorts of cyber crimes. Two ways authentication is also high recommended by experts.

Also having a backup copy which can be used as a business continuity plan during the time of a disaster is highly recommended. This applies to companies as a mandatory. For individual securing your critical computer info on cloud platforms such as Dropbox, Microsoft One Drive, and Google Drives makes complete sense.

So, if you happen to be a few of those lucky ones who weren’t affected by Wannacry, then consider the present ransomware attack as a wake-up call and do your best to become proactive against cyber attacks.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cyber Security Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security