Ransomware Advice and Old Windows Version Protection Update

As of noon Monday, 5/15, NPR says over 150 countries have been hit by Ransomware malware attacks.  The consequences are severe.  Victims include scores of thousands of businesses and institutions, including the U.K. National Health Service (they had to turn away patients) and railway and other vital services around the world.  Some big companies have had to shut down entire factories.  One of the biggest oil companies in China had their “payment system” attacked.  I don’t know whether they meant payroll or accounts payable.  I heard all this on NPR today.

(By the way, do you have a stash of emergency cash buried somewhere?  Going to wait until the banking system is hacked or your Social Security or payroll check gets sent to Siberia?)

Old versions of Windows (and Windows 10 installations not kept up to latest updates) are susceptible.  There are many ways you can pick up this malware, by browser, email, etc.

Get the Microsoft Update to protect old versions of Windows, back to XP and Server 03.  If you’re running Automatic Updates, you should have it already.  Check to be sure.  Windows Update procedure varies depending on your version of windows.  Microsoft FAQ on Windows Update for versions 7, 8 and 10:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12373/windows-update-faq

To manually download and install the update for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and Servers, go to the Windows Update Catalog search result for the Ransomware-related patch as updated May 13, 2017:
http://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/search.aspx?q=4012598
(or go to catalog.update.microsoft.com and manually run a search for 4012598)


From the table on that page, click the blue download button for your version.

Norton (Symantec) Security Report about Ransomware:
https://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/what-you-need-know-about-wannacry-ransomware

Norton Article on Importance of Backup as Protection from Ransomware:
https://community.norton.com/en/blogs/norton-protection-blog/ransomware-and-importance-backing

I tested the Windows XP update on an old computer and it installed with no trouble.

Your feedback / corrections to this info requested and your questions invited.

Quoted from the above Norton Report:

What are best practices for protecting against ransomware?
  • New ransomware variants appear on a regular basis. Always keep your security software up to date to protect yourself against them.
  • Keep your operating system and other software updated. Software updates will frequently include patches for newly discovered security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by ransomware attackers.
  • Email is one of the main infection methods. Be wary of unexpected emails especially if they contain links and/or attachments.
  • Be extremely wary of any Microsoft Office email attachment that advises you to enable macros to view its content. Unless you are absolutely sure that this is a genuine email from a trusted source, do not enable macros and instead immediately delete the email.
  • Backing up important data is the single most effective way of combating ransomware infection. Attackers have leverage over their victims by encrypting valuable files and leaving them inaccessible. If the victim has backup copies, they can restore their files once the infection has been cleaned up. However organizations should ensure that back-ups are appropriately protected or stored off-line so that attackers can’t delete them.
  • Using cloud services could help mitigate ransomware infection, since many retain previous versions of files, allowing you to roll back to the unencrypted form.

2 thoughts on “Ransomware Advice and Old Windows Version Protection Update”

  1. Ah; there were three updates/restarts in a row on Sunday.. now it makes more sense!

    I’ve often wondered how the world would react to a solar-flare disruption to our grid, but this ransomware gives us a sneak peek. Thanks for this summary and for the links.

  2. Maybe the latest big update got rolled out to your area just now. I got that big one about a month ago, that took a long time with multiple restarts. There’s supposed to be another one later this year, with major changes … going cloud-centric. Eventually you won’t have your own computer. You’ll have a node in the cloud. They don’t like people being independent. We’ve been assimilated.

    It’s just a matter of time before an act of cyber-war/crime/accident/stupidity causes even more serious trouble than this one. I’m not a radical survivalist, but I’m stocked and equipped to live a couple of weeks off-grid without leaving home, and to travel if I have to. It’s not pessimism. It’s optimism that I can get by if I have to when the virtually inevitable comes.

    Looking out the window as I type right now, there’s a turkey walking by. Now THAT’s what I call WINDOWS. It’s patrolling the edge of the woods. From my computer, whenever I look up, through a six-foot wide window I see only grass, trees, sky, and non-human residents. It makes using the Windows at my fingers more tolerable and less unhealthful. I’m very lucky.

    As for my post about this new flavor of Ransomware (the one invented by the U.S. National Security Agency and leaked to the public), the greatest victims were people who did not have the latest updates and people who had old versions of Windows, especially XP, and people who had unlicensed, bootlegged copies that cannot be updated.

    In the news they said Microsoft had just released a patch even for the old Windows XP, but nobody said where to get it! When I looked into it, I found that finding it was the kind of thing most people I know would never find. So I found it and posted it.

    Just another of my super-powers. I also can leap tall puddles in a single bound.

    Just think of all the orders Microsoft may get now for upgrading Windows on a billion PCs. Who needs ransom money? If they had a sale right now on Windows 10 like they did when I got mine very cheaply, nobody with the money would turn it down, and Microsoft’s stock price would leap. Vive la NASDAQ.

    As for people without the money, well, who ever cared about them? As Jesus said, “The poor we will have with us always.” (At least that’s who my memory credits with it. Maybe it was Gandhi or MLK.) There will always be a Digital Divide between the ones who get to participate and the ones who don’t.

Co-star in this show; comment below

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