"The recent global ransomware attack exploiting a flaw in Windows, while serious, not only demonstrates the continued ubiquity of Microsoft, but also highlights that numerous affected enterprises or entities that are still using older, and now unsupported, versions of Windows need to accelerate their plans to upgrade to Windows 10", analyst Michael Nemeroff wrote in a note to clients Monday entitled "If you're not current, you're toast".
"But users of older software, such as Windows XP, have to pay hefty fees for so-called "custom" support".
The central government had earlier said the ongoing ransomware cyberattack didn't have a serious impact in the country.
"Ransomware generally gets into the system through user interaction", Staats said. "As a result, many IT departments lack the resources and budget needed to upgrade to newer operating systems like Windows 10".
Once your files are encrypted, your options are limited.
"It leads me to think they did not think it would spread as far as it is", he said. In many cases, the computers running these older operating systems are part of a collection of computers the victim businesses were using.
Nicolas Drogou, Head, Security Practice, Asia Pacific, Orange Business Services informed us what he observed in Singapore.
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Also, make sure that you save, or back up, your data.
The negative outcomes could well escalate too, from encrypted data today to disabling hardware such as hard disks, or even whole workstations, notebooks and PCs. Those include a known and highly risky security hole in Microsoft Windows, tardy users who didn't apply Microsoft's March software fix, and malware created to spread quickly once inside university, business and government networks.
But security experts challenged that argument, saying that Microsoft could not be expected to keep updating old software products indefinitely.
Since then, the company has poured billions of dollars into security initiatives, employing more than 3,500 engineers dedicated to security.
Permit automatic Windows updates if you do not want to worry about keeping your computer updated.
Again, if you protect your systems against the appropriate malware and you patch all your systems, you should be in the clear.
"Whether or not you think the USA government should be spending a fortune developing such cyber-weapons, surely it is obvious that the weapons they develop should be properly secured", said Phillip Hallam-Baker, principal scientist for New Jersey-based cybersecurity firm Comodo, in an emailed statement. Low-end criminals take advantage of less-savvy users with such known viruses, even though malware is constantly changing and antivirus is frequently days behind detecting it. The problem is that once those vulnerabilities become public, they can be used by others. With cyber-security experts saying that the malware infected at least 45,000 computer systems belonging to Indian organisations ranging from banking to IT services to small retail shops, there's enough ground to speculate on a possible under-reporting of related incidents. It effectively takes the computer hostage and demands a $300 ransom, to be paid in 72 hours with bitcoin. There's also no guarantee all files will be restored.
Organizations that had not installed Microsoft's security update were affected by the attack. But having the backup helps assure that if you get hit with ransom ware you don't have to pay up.