If you haven’t been living under a rock in the last week or so, though it feels like I have, then you will know about the WannaCry attacks that have swept across the world. The malware is aimed at extorting money from people by threatening to lock down and delete files on their computers. Most of the attacks have managed to penetrate large organisations like the United Kingdom’s National Health Service and even Nissan Renault has had to scale back production. The ransomware attacks are now moving into Australia, though the impact has been very limited so far.
The attack began late last week, and given the weekend was upon us, Australian government agencies and corporations were shutting down when the crisis began. It managed to shield us from most of the ill effects. After one full working day, the Australian Federal government has confirmed that WannaCry has reached our shores. For now, the attack has had very limited success, managing to penetrate only one business, with some suspected attacks at two others, according to Dan Tehan, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security.
Alleged to been created from a set of hacking tools secreted away from the American NSA, WannaCry has had success in getting into computers using old operating systems like Windows XP. Emergency patches for software has gone out, but the greatest fear for cybersecurity experts is that the ransomeware will evolve. Indeed, there are already signs that it has begun to do so. All users of Windows computers are urged to update their security software. There’s no telling how WannaCry will evolve, and whether it will continue to be a threat.
Here’s a tip. If you have any Windows machines that are connected in any way to the internet, keep their security suites updated when you get home. As soon as possible, especially computers that are running legacy operating systems. The last thing you want or need is your home’s netowrk compromised by WannaCry and your files held hostage.