5 things to know about the Wanna Cry ransomware

On Friday, May 12th companies and organizations around the world starting dealing with attacks by a ransomware strain variously known as WannaCrypt, WanaDecrypt and Wanna.Cry. Ransomware encrypts a victim’s documents, images, music and other files unless the victim pays for a key to unlock them, if at all.

This story has been everywhere, even my precious local news, so I figured we should give you some information as well.

Here are some things we think you should know about this story:

  • Misinformation – When we recorded the podcast Sunday night, the information I had was way off. I don’t remember my source but it was wrong. It was the NSA not CIA, $300 not $3000, and it was a security researcher not a reporter that helped curb the spread. Dave had some good sources, especially a Microsoft blog post calling for action on this type of attack.
  • What actually happened
    • Earlier this year the US government reported that data had been stolen from the National Security Agency, or NSA. Included in this was an exploit that Wanna Cry was based on.
    • In March, Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability to its currently supported operating systems, Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. If your Windows computer was updated, it was not at risk. It only affects Windows computers.
    • There are tons of computers around the world that are not updated for one reason or another.
    • WannaCrypt was being spread primarily by phishing emails, most commonly links or attachments, and as a worm on unpatched systems. It only takes one person within a network to click a link and it will spread like wildfire through the system.
    • It is estimated that more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries were infected. The software then requires you pay about $300 in Bitcoin to unlock your files. Britain’s National Health Service, FedEx, Deutsche Bahn and LATAM Airlines were all hit.
    • A security researcher found a domain in the ransomware that was not registered, by registering it the spread was slowed.
    • We aren’t in the clear, security experts believe there are new strains being spread which bypass that domain.
    • Microsoft released a security patch even for unsupported versions of Windows.
  • These types of attacks are not slowing down! – There are new phishing and ransomware attacks showing up every day. These criminals are lazy and holding your data ransom is an easy way for them to make money.
  • How can you avoid being infected?
    • #OneBackupIsNoneBackup. You know who doesn’t need to pay the ransomware fee? People who have a good backup they can recover.
    • Pay attention to email. We get in a hurry and start clicking on links willy-nilly. Slow down, if something doesn’t seem right take a second look. Check the from address carefully, hover over links to see if the address is correct.
    • Keep your computer updated. If you’re still on Windows XP it might be time to updated. Unless you have a reason automatically install all updates.
    • Educate others. It is no good if you are doing everything right and someone else on your network gets infected and ruins it for everyone.
  • What to do if you are infected
    • Take a picture of the messages on your computer with your cell phone.
    • Turn off the computer.
    • Disconnect it from the network if hardwired.
    • Call someone. If you are at work call IT, if you are at home call someone who can help.
    • Keep your fingers crossed.

This stuff is scary and it should be, this software can do crazy things and cause tons of problems, be smart out there. If you need help contact us, we can help!

Further reading:

Episode 71: Don’t Copy That Floppy

We randomly spend a good chunk of the episode talking about the olden days of tech via some news and Dave’s pick of the week. Stick around to the very end for a special song.

Links from the Show:

As always, thank you for listening!

Brought to you by #OneBackupIsNoneBackup

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If you would like to help support Notnerd financially, mentally or physically, please contact us via any of the methods above.

Episode 67: 60 Second Skip

After working through follow-up and a few quick takes we get into some big security stories including a #ProTip of #ProTips on being smart with email. Then we wrap up with some great picks of the week.

Links from the Show:

As always, thank you for listening!

Support the show: Shop Amazon

Subscribe and Review on iTunes

Contact Info:

If you would like to help support Notnerd financially, mentally or physically, please contact us via any of the methods above.

Episode 66: Wolverine, Walden & Wine

Nate and Dave got in a lengthy discussion about what device is right for what situation. From the Apple Watch to a 27″ iMac, you can find something that fits your use case. After that we touch on some news and our Picks of the Week.

Links from the Show:

As always, thank you for listening!

Support the show: Shop Amazon

Subscribe and Review on iTunes

Contact Info:

If you would like to help support Notnerd financially, mentally or physically, please contact us via any of the methods above.

Episode 65: Fast Food, Facebook and a Friend

Fast Food and Laptop

We have a surprise guest stop into the show this week. After a deep dive into fast food, we barely talked about tech news before answering our guest’s questions. Make sure you listen to the end to get an extra pick of the week from our guest.

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