In what has been described as the worst ransomware attack in history, WannaCry has had far-reaching consequences. Financial institutions, government agencies, factories, transport systems and many other industries were all impacted, with varying degrees of loss and damages.
Even more significant was the intellectual and philosophical fallout, with politicians debating whether agencies like the NSA should be allowed to stockpile vulnerabilities, Microsoft calling for a cyber “Geneva Convention,” and at least some experts asking if the spread of WannaCry was a preview of a Terminator-style Skynet takeover.
One of the more interesting details to emerge from the crisis is the realization of how much worse the attack could have been since the spread of the virus was slowed significantly by registering a previously unregistered domain name that WannaCry was linked to. Had the perpetrators been more thorough, the damage could have been far worse.
One point of discussion that has not garnered as much attention is the fact that much of WannaCry’s impact could have been avoided altogether.
Outdated Software: A Catastrophe in the Making
Some two months before the WannaCry attack, Microsoft had released a patch that addressed the very vulnerability WannaCry exploited. Unfortunately, the approximately 100,000 affected organizations around the world serve as a testament to the state of software updates.
Experts believe that many organizations failed to apply the patch, likely missing it in the myriad of patches and updates vendors release on a regular basis. As a result, IT personnel spent the days around the attack frantically trying to update systems to further halt WannaCry’s spread.
“Right now, just about every IT department has been working all weekend rolling this out,” Dan Wire, spokesman at Fireeye Security, told the Associated Press.
Throughout the WannaCry attack, Maintech’s servers and services were completely unaffected by the virus. As a result, and even more importantly, none of Maintech’s customers were affected either. The reason is quite simple: Unlike many companies who failed to keep their software up-to-date, Maintech’s software was patched and secure against the virus.
This well illustrates the benefits of a third-party IT provider. Planning ahead to reduce costs, downtime and surprises—not to mention avoiding catastrophe—should be high on any company’s priority list. The reality, however, is that most IT departments struggle to keep up with the litany of proactive steps that need to be taken to prevent this kind of disaster.
In contrast, Maintech Client Management leverages Microsoft Configuration manager (SCCM) to ensure prompt software patching and delivery, while using Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) for backup services. This ensures that whether clients use Windows or Linux, their software is kept up-to-date with the latest bug fixes and security patches available.
Most experts expect the next WannaCry-style attack to be far worse. To help ensure your company weathers that attack and any others, contact Maintech to see what a dedicated, third-party IT provider can do for you.