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Are You Worried about the Latest Cyber-Attack on Computers? Microsoft Has Info, and Protection

Aimee Herd : May 16, 2017  BCN, Microsoft.com, CNET.com

It's important to note that the best way to protect yourself against these viruses and cyber-attacks is to make sure you have received and installed ALL the security updates offered by your operating system and apps—keeping them up to date—and making sure you do NOT open any emails and especially email attachments that you are not sure about. "When in doubt, throw it out!"

Last week, a widespread 'ransomware' cyber-attack calling itself "WannaCry" or "WannaCrypt" was made by an unknown source (some suspect North Korea) affecting PCs all around the world. (Image: Public Domain/via Pixabay)

According to an alert from Microsoft, there are steps people, and businesses, can take to protect themselves from this malicious attack, which seems to target older operating systems, especially those which have not installed security updates.

It's important to note that the best way to protect yourself against these viruses and cyber-attacks is to make sure you have received and installed ALL the security updates offered by your operating system and apps, keeping them up to date, and making sure you do NOT open any emails and especially email attachments that you are not sure about. Remember: when in doubt, throw it out!

Microsoft has issued a special patch that goes all the way back to Windows XP to protect against the malware. According to CNET, there is no way to repair an affected operating system.

The blog regarding the situation on Microsoft's website reads: "...we are taking the highly unusual step of providing a security update for all customers to protect Windows platforms that are in custom support only, including Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003. Customers running Windows 10 were not targeted by the attack..."

Here is what Microsoft is advising:

• In March, we released a security update which addresses the vulnerability that these attacks are exploiting. Those who have Windows Update enabled are protected against attacks on this vulnerability. For those organizations who have not yet applied the security update, we suggest you immediately deploy Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010.

• For customers using Windows Defender, we released an update earlier today which detects this threat as Ransom:Win32/WannaCrypt. As an additional "defense-in-depth" measure, keep up-to-date anti-malware software installed on your machines. Customers running anti-malware software from any number of security companies can confirm with their provider, that they are protected.

• This attack type may evolve over time, so any additional defense-in-depth strategies will provide additional protections. (For example, to further protect against SMBv1 attacks, customers should consider blocking legacy protocols on their networks).


We also know that some of our customers are running versions of Windows that no longer receive mainstream support. That means those customers will not have received the above mentioned Security Update released in March. Given the potential impact to customers and their businesses, we made the decision to make the Security Update for platforms in custom support only, Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003, broadly available for download.

Customers who are running supported versions of the operating system (Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016) will have received the security update MS17-010 in March. If customers have automatic updates enabled or have installed the update, they are protected. For other customers, we encourage them to install the update as soon as possible.


If you are a PC user running Windows, click here to view the patch downloads available from Microsoft.com.

The ransomware appears to only affect PCs and not Macs or any Apple/Mac-based operating systems, iPads or iPhones.







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