The “Wannacry” Ransomware Attack & What You Can Do

Lark Ismail

The recent Ransomware attack used modified software stolen from the National Security Agency and has affected over 200,000 computers across 150 countries so far as part of a global blackmail attempt.

Ransomware: a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Basically, the Wannacry hack encrypts essential files on your Windows device and requires that you pay a ransom to unlock those files. This is likely the largest ransomware attack ever and tragically it forced Britain’s public health system to have to send patients away. A Doctor interviewed with the guardian gave one example. “At my hospital we are literally unable to do any X-rays”. Another Doctor was unable to process any prescriptions for patients, even for urgent requests.

This is one of many global hacks in the last year that has shed light on the damage of cyberweapons and highlighted the importance of cybersecurity. Large attacks last year disrupted internet service and shut down major sites such as Netflix, Twitter, Spotify, Reddit, CNN, Fox News, PayPal, Pinterest and others.

Many individuals and businesses feel that they are too small to be a target of a cyber attack.  However according to Stop.Think.Connect findings, 44% of small businesses reported being the victim of a cyber attack, with an average cost of approximately $9,000 per attack. 63% of all attacks in 2010 hit businesses with 100 or fewer employees while only 27% targeted business with over 100 employees. Many small businesses don’t make security a priority and so an easy target is more appealing.

What you can do now:

  • Update or updade any out of date technology you are using.
  • If you use Microsoft’s Windows XP be sure to download their patch ASAP.
  • Be very careful with what links you click on in your emails. This malware was likely originally distributed through phishing emails. If you’re uncertain, don’t click.
  • Consider your options for regular data back up or inspect your current system. Make sure that this data is secure.

If you’d like to learn general practices to keep you and your business secure email us at for free educational materials.

Lancaster, CA and Palmdale, CA residents: As official partners of Stop.Think.Connect we have plenty of posters and free educational materials to give out that you can read and display in your offices to remind your employees. Contact and we can drop by your office with a package. Stop.Think.Connect is a campaign created by the by the National Cyber Security Alliance with leadership from Homeland Security that aims to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online.

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Managing Director at Jolly Good Media. We focus on continued customer relationships with ongoing website maintenance and SEO strategy. My husband, two yorkies, and I recently moved to Oregon. I love brewing Kombucha, raising chickens, and drinking wine.