WannaCry Ransomware Attacks – Why Keeping your OS Updated Matters

Whenever you get the opportunity to update your operating system, please do it. You may be uncomfortable with the updates applied at first, but at least you reduce the risk of being heckled for money by your own computer.

Last Friday marked the start of a huge ransomware attack. This specific ransomware attack has been nicknamed “WannaCry” by media outlets, and it affected at least 200,000 computer systems throughout 150 countries. If you didn’t know this already off of the top of your head (I didn’t) there are only 196 countries in the whole world. Meaning that computers in over three-fourths of the world’s countries were demanding money from their users, who had no guarantee that they could keep their own files even if they paid the ransom (P.S. – don’t pay the ransom if your computer is infected. You may end up screwed out of both your money and your computer files if you pay the ransom, as the people who created the ransomware are criminals in the first place).

Modern laptop computer with ransomware locking applications. Hand with bitcoins representing payment of ransom

The amount of computers which were affected by the WannaCry attack is startling, but what really made this cyberattack stand out was the systems that the ransomware infected. The attack had a large impact on businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, and even hospitals.

So, why were so many important facilities and organizations even hurt by this ransomware attack in the first place? Outdated software. Operating system updates are important for many reasons, including improved security features. However, it is easy to only consider how operating systems work as user interfaces, which means that if a company or individual really likes the look and feel of Windows 7, they may not see the point of updating their systems. Businesses and individuals may also decide to not update their operating systems if they feel that it will take up too much time or be too costly. Unfortunately, the only people who were really safe from the WannaCry attack either had an operating system that wasn’t a version of Windows, or Windows users with updated operating systems. Here’s a list of at-risk Windows operating systems:

-Windows XP

-Windows Server 2003

-Windows 8

If you are running any of these operating systems, you should check and make sure that you have all of the available security updates for your system installed. And if you do get infected with this ransomware, do not pay the fee, there are currently no known cases of users who paid the WannaCry fee getting their files back. If you do get infected, you can attempt to remove the malware yourself, or you can get a PC-tune-up.

Want to share this story on social media? Use these hashtags! #RansomWare #WannaCry

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