Funny how all these years of me picking and choosing updates to keep my computer functioning how I want it (you know... to have what you paid for and keep my product without others stealing it and modifying it *cough*badupdates*cough* ... basic consumer rights... but anyway) came to haunt me.
So I finally decided that I'd bite the bullet and update my updates... only to find out Windows Update was refusing to update and would forever stay stuck "searching for updates". Just my luck. When I really don't want updates they try to install, and when I really need them they don't.
Anyhow, why am I so desperate to update, you might ask?
I'll tell you. And you should tell everyone you know too, if they haven't already seen the news...
The RansᴏmWare Global Epidemic
Perhaps the largest cyber-attack in the history of computing has just happened this weekend.
A group called the Shadᴏw Brᴏkers have released a really nasty piece of malware called "WannaCry" which is spreading like wildfire.
It has already infected over 75,000 computers in 99 countries across the globe. This has screwed over the NHS (British health service) and various hospitals around the world, ruined university computers, bank computers... even factories like those belonging to Nissan have halted production.
And here's the really f*cked up thing about the malware... it's not just disruptive... it holds your system hostage:
If it infects your computer, it will encrypt your files and provide a countdown, holding your files for ransom. If you do not pay within the allotted time, they'll delete everything.
DO NOT PAY THE RANSOM if you do get infected.There's no guarantee that criminals will even bother giving your files back. Once you get the malware, you might as well consider your files gone.
So what can I do to stop it?
These tips will (hopefully) help you prevent it affecting you.
If you're already infected, then I'm sorry but it's too late.
- TURN OFF YOUR INTERNET RIGHT NOW. Disconnect your laptop/computer. Turn it onto flight mode if you can. Now take this opportunity, while you're not linked to the internet, to back up your files and folders to an external hard drive. If you don't have one, then buy one now if possible. If you can't, then choose the files most important to you and back them up to a normal USB. Just at least back up whatever you can to a storage device that isn't connected to the internet. It might also be handy to back up installers for the programs you have on your laptop, or even the folders in Appdata or Program files (if you know what you're doing).
- Once you're finished the first step, turn the internet connection back on and update your Windows Updates fully up to date and download the patches Microsoft is offering. The malware seems to target out of date systems. Windows 10 seems to be unaffected. But if you're using Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 8.1, don't hesitate to update your updates.
- Update all your Antivirus software. Check the blogs of the antivirus company's websites to see if they've specifically responded at all to the "ransᴏmware" epidemic or "WannaCry". If they haven't, consider installing other antivirus software from trusted sites. AVG, Avast and Malwarebytes seem to be good choices.
- Update your browser. That yellow bar on DeviantArt makes a lot more sense now. It's best to follow it's advice and update your browser.
- Download the MS17-010 security update. This is the patch specifically for the ransomware.
- If you can't find or install MS17-010 for whatever reason, the second safest thing you can do is to disable SMBv1:
How to disable SMBv1:
If you're using Windows Vista or 7.
Look at the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 2696547.
If you're using Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 or other later systems.
- Open your Control Panel, go into Programs, and then click Turn Windows features on or off.
- In the Windows Features window, clear the SMB1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support checkbox, and then click OK to close the window.
- Restart the system.
The SMBv1 protocol will now be disabled. If you want to undo it, just retrace these steps and check the box instead.
If you're using Windows 10.
If you have any further questions, I may have already answered them in this FAQ:
Ransomware Epidemic FAQThis journal is a sort of extension to my previous journal, which I'd highly recommend you read since it contains info about how to protect your computer: PLEASE READ - The Ransomware Epidemic
In this journal I'll answer some of the frequently asked questions in relation to the ransomware epidemic.
How does it spread?
From what I can gather, WannaCry sets up infected machines to act as servers that spread it to other computers nearby on connected networks.
Also it appears to spread via emails as well, so be cautious and don't click on unfamiliar links in emails.
Which systems are being affected?
So far it's only older Windows computers being affected. Windows XP and Vista are most at risk since