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What You Need To Know about the WannaCry Ransomware Worm

The “WannaCry” or “WannaCrypt” ransomware worm has attacked various organizations around the world in as many as 70 countries, and is still propagating in spite of reports a computer researcher stopped it. While the United States as a whole has not been affected as much as the rest of the world, there are recent reports some organizations in Richmond have seen this executing on their systems.   

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) that illegally and covertly encrypts all your files. You will not be able to access your files until you pay a ransom in Bitcoin to the ransomware hacker. Because WannaCry ransomware is a worm, it spreads even more rapidly than a computer virus. It also infects any connected external or network storage devices. You can be infected with ransomware if your computer is not patched (updated) with the Microsoft patch issued March 2017, and by clicking on a link in a phishing or spam email, or by clicking on a malicious website link. Directions to protect yourself and your computers are listed below

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Only systems running Microsoft Windows, including those listed below, are affected at this time. Devices running Apple, Google, or Linux operating systems are not known to be vulnerable to this attack:

  • Microsoft Windows XP
  • Microsoft Windows Vista SP2
  • Windows Server 2008 SP2 and R2 SP1
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows RT 8.1
  • Windows Server 2012 and R2
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2016

Microsoft released a patch for the WannaCry exploit vulnerability (MS17-010) this past March 14, 2017. If your LSP did not enable Windows Automatic Updates or another patching mechanism, you may not have received the patch. You also may not have received the patch at home, because you may not have automatic updates checked. In any case it’s in your best interest to check your home computers to see if you have this patch. 

You can access the Microsoft security bulletin for the MS17-010 patch here or by pasting this link into your browser’s address bar <https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx>.

You can also contact the ITS Help Desk at 434-924-HELP (924-4357) or by email at 4help@virginia.edu

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