Be sure to install the update this week to your Windows 10 PC unless you want to get hacked from malware or random pesky email bombs. Last Friday, one of the biggest cyber attacks ever made occurred, and it affected 74 countries around the world, according to the New York Times.
Worldwide cyber attack: ransomware kidnapping
The ransomware (a malicious software that, after infecting a computer, gives the hacker the ability to block and control the PC from a remote location) has been identified as WannaCry. How does it look like on the screen? Check out on the image below from a security researcher’s computer.
The tool used by the cyber-criminals, apparently stolen from the North American National Security Agency, was already freely published on Internet by the hackers team Shadow Brokers as a way of “protest” about US President Donald Trump.
WannaCry program forced workers from large enterprises like FedEx, banks, hospitals, and even government offices like Russia’s interior and health ministries to stop their labors since computers were inaccessible until they pay a ransom in Bitcoins, a form of online currency. What did they have in common? Windows system installed on its computers.
Is this the Third World War and nobody noticed it? Although the origin and the reason for the attack are not yet known, it no doubt represents another public demonstration of how vulnerable the Internet is.
I’m a Windows user, am I exposed?
If you wonder about the scope of this last attack and why it might be one of the worst ever occurred, here’s the example of Britain’s National Health Service to name but one, where there were people who even lost important chirurgical interventions.
If you’re reading this, at least from a Windows PC, chances are you have not been infected. However, you’re still exposed. In fact, the problem is that Windows Defender, the system firewall, has suffered a serious vulnerability.
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) May 13, 2017
Ironically, the threatened versions weren’t the most recent: Windows 10, for example, is less exposed. Nevertheless, Microsoft experts fixed it right away and suggested their users via Twitter to force the update so that they can have the new features added to the Windows Defender Engine that shields system security.
How to avoid cyber scams
So the first unpleasant lesson, I hope already learned, whether you are a Windows user or not, always update your operating systems. Experts are constantly working on fixing bugs and boosting security for their followers.
On the other hand, that classic, unknown random mail in your inbox is the oldest trick in the cyber scam and hacking history, so you don’t need to fall into the trap. However, if you are one of those who still resubmits the chain message because otherwise something horrific could happen anytime, pay attention…
The emails from unknown users, or that you have not requested, better to delete them directly. If you are not sure of the origin and still need to open them, do not follow any link or download any attachment. Finally, never answer any of those doubtful messages — They will tell you even that you won a large inheritance to convince you but be strong, 99% of the times it’s a cheat!
What are your best detection techniques? The Internet is still a wild place, even for adults, so we must all take care of each other. Perhaps, it won’t be but until experts develop new safer ways of connecting.