This week saw dozens of NHS Trusts experiencing computer problems, after their un-patched PCs were infected with the Wannacry virus. Known as Ransomware, Wannacry encrypts all the data on a computer’s hard drive, and asks the user to pay around £230 in bitcoins (a digital currency). The attacks have been widely covered by the news, and didn’t just affect the NHS – thousands of computers worldwide were effected at the same time.

How did the computers get infected?

Although some people blamed phishing emails (emails that include a link to an external site, clicking it downloads the virus), it now appears that the virus was actually spread through un-patched computers. Wannacry targets a vulnerability in the Windows operating system. Microsoft created a patch for it back in March, but unless the latest updates have been installed on a computer they will still be open to attack. The NHS Trusts involved have been criticised for not installing the patch, despite advice from NHS Digital.

Is it just big organisations that get hit?

No. The virus isn’t just targeting big companies, if it gets into your network, whether you’re a small company or an individual, then it will spread to any un-patched computers.

Am I vulnerable to ransomware?

If you’re running Windows 10, then you are not vulnerable to this current version of ransomware. If you run Windows XP, Windows Server 3 or Windows 8, then you will be vulnerable if you haven’t installed the latest security patches. Although formerly Microsoft did not offer updates for older versions of Windows, to help stop the spread of this virus they have made security patches available for previous versions which are available for download from Microsoft’s website.

Virus and Ransomware attacks can cause havoc to any business. If you’re concerned about the security of your computer or network then you should seek the advice of an IT professional.

This whole issue has also highlighted the importance of keeping all software up to date which of course includes your business website. If you don’t currently have a maintenance package in place on your website, get in touch with us today to discuss the options.