The mass weekend ransomware attack now being called “Wannacry” has all the elements of a spy thriller. The attack supposedly uses secret hacks stolen from the NSA and was “accidentally” thwarted by a young computer wiz.
AS A VICIOUS new strain of ransomware swept the UK’s National Health Service yesterday, shutting off services at hospitals and clinics throughout the region, experts cautioned that the best protection was to download a patch Microsoft had issued in March. The only problem? A reported 90 percent of NHS trusts run at least one Windows XP device, an operating system Microsoft first introduced in 2001 and hasn’t supported since 2014.
Here is what Paul Myer a Microsoft Product Specialist had to sat about XP back in 2014;
“We know that the first six to twelve months after support for Windows XP ends, it will be ripe for hackers. We also know several international hacking groups have already developed exploits they plan to release when support ends.”
The attack is certainly worrisome and could be a precursor to even more devastating cyber warfare. However the fact that one of the high profile victims the UK’s NHS was using Widows XP is incredible and makes the treat less of a worry fer those of us with up to date systems. Microsoft clearly stated in 2014 that system using XP would be vulnerable to attack.
I was recently chatting with a dental claims clearing house executive and he advised me that one of their biggest security concerns was the large number of dentists still using XP.