WannaCry - should I be concerned - blog header image showing wannacry ransom notice

Should I be worried about WannaCry?

We decided that we’d try to put people at ease…at least a little bit


In brief:

  • You probably don't need to panic.
  • Please don't get fleeced!

Let us set the record straight about the WannaCry Cyber attack last week. 

Quick links:

  • Am I at risk? read in full
    • From WannaCry - probably not, no.
    • From all kinds of other stuff, including ransomware - probably, yes.
  • What is WannaCry? read in full
    • WannaCry is malicious software classed as "ransomware"
  • What should I be doing? read in full
    • Make sure that your firewall is blocking SMB (unless you know you need it)
    • Upgrade from WindowsXP

The long version:

Unless you live in a cave, you have probably heard about last weeks Cyber attack that affected the NHS.

Since then, there has been  a deluge of opportunistic businesses seeking to capitalise on the fear and misunderstanding that this attack has caused. We decided that we'd try to put people at ease...at least a little bit.

What is WannaCry

WannaCry is malicious software (malware). It sits in a subset known as "Ransomware". Typically ransomware will encrypt every document file it can find - including networked drives you have access to.

If you use cloud storage services that auto-sync from your machine (e.g. DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive...) then over time, it will also encrypt the files on your cloud drive.

Am I at risk?

From WannaCry - probably not, no.

From all kinds of other stuff, including ransomware - probably, yes.

Usually, ransomware has to be installed - i.e. it requires a user to initiate it (accidentally). WannaCry was unusual in that it used a flaw in a legacy protocol (SMB) to spread itself.

The reason we're hearing about large organisations (like the NHS) being affected is that in large enterprises, change happens slowly, and they have legacy systems that have to be supported. Many of these large enterprises are still running Windows XP for example, which is no longer supported by Microsoft.

If you are still running the SMB protocol, then you may be vulnerable - but if you are still running XP, then WannaCry is probably the least of your worries!

What should I be doing?

If you're still running XP, upgrade as soon as you can.

Whether you are running XP or not, check your firewall rules are set up correctly in your boundary router (for most that's the wireless router supplied by your Internet Service Provider).

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