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The NHS Cyber Attack and Ransomware Virus. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself.

Unless you've been locked in a dark room today you've probably seen via most news agencies that the NHS has been infected by a Ransomware virus. We've written a blog post about Ransomware viruses previously. They're horrible viruses that get onto your computer system. They encrypt all your data and then hold you to ransom demanding payment to decrypt your data.

According to BleepingComputer and some other security blogs the virus that the NHS has been infected with today is called WanaCrypt0r 2.0. It is also known as Wannacrypt or Wcry. It is a very virulent new strain of ransomware which according to antivirus software creator Avast has already affected at least 57,000 computers. Kaspersky are also reporting that it has been found on computers in 74 different countries.

As previously mentioned it has notably infected the National Health Service's system today. It has also infected other large organisations including banks and telecommunications companies.

How is this ransomware virus spreading so quickly?

Wana Decrypter is reportedly using an exploit which was allegedly created by the NSA that was leaked online last month. EternalBlue is the codename for an exploit made public by hacker group Shadow Brokers that allows hackers to gain access to some users systems.

Security researcher MalwareTech have even created a live global map that updates to show new Wana Decrypter infections in realtime.

How can I protect my computers?

Microsoft patched this exploit (MS17-010) back in March 2017 and providing your computer has it you should be reasonably safe. The best thing to do to make sure you remain secure is confirm you have all the latest Windows updates installed. If you don't have them installing automatically, run the updates now! Do them all. When the computer finishes those updates, check again and makes sure there aren't anymore to install. If there are any, install them too.

UPDATE: Due to the "potential impact to customers and their businesses" Microsoft have now released a patch for those older operating systems that weren't covered by their original patch back in March 2017. You can read the article here and download the patch from here.

If you're unsure that your PC is protected or if you are having difficulties running Windows updates, please feel free to get in touch and we will do our best to help.

Ashfield IT are an IT support company based in Nottinghamshire that can help with your computer security and virus protection. For more information, you can reach us via online chat, our contact page or call us on 01623 375005.

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