Unless you have been in one of the few places left in the world without a data connection you will have heard something about the WannaCry Ransomware attack that has affected at least 200, 000 computers in over 150 different countries since last Friday (12th May 2017).
In the UK the NHS has been one of the hardest hit organisations getting a lot of high profile coverage in light of numerous patients appointments and operations being cancelled due to the underlying data files of those patients being inaccessible – because they had been encrypted and were being held to ransom.
The main question people are asking is why it happened, that’s an easy question to answer, it arguably comes down to an inadequate IT security strategy in the NHS organisations affected. However its perhaps unfair to say that this was all easily avoidable, after all Microsoft released a patch to address the vulnerability in April didn’t they?
Well yes and no, a Microsoft patch was released in April that plugged the Eternal Blue vulnerability but this patch only covered the versions of the Windows OS that are still supported by Microsoft – however the NHS use Windows XP which went out of general support in 2014 and the patch to address the Windows XP version of the vulnerability was only released at the weekend following the WannaCry outbreak. The problem is that the NHS and many other organisations must still use XP to deliver the applications required by their users since the applications are not available or compatible on the current versions of Windows and they pay Microsoft a premium price for continued support of XP; so it becomes a chicken and egg argument as to who is to blame from the OS patch perspective.
The other aspect of protecting oneself from Ransomware infection is your choice of Anti-Virus software, as the blogs on the Define Tomorrow website are testament to, the days of ‘traditional’ AV being sufficient to provide adequate protection against todays malware is long gone, BitDefender estimate that in excess of 400,000 new malware threats emerge each day – granted many are based on old or pre-existing code and completely new and unique malware is fortunately very rare – but the fact remains that not a single BitDefender customer was affected by WannaCry infection.
Why is this? BitDefender’s products use a tiered strategy to protect their customers against malware infection using multiple different detection mechanisms rather than just one, these methods include the tried and tested traditional AV protection using virus definition files but BitDefender uses internally developed sandboxing technology to examine threats in an isolated-from-the-OS environment, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to identify modern malware threats and these elements together are largely what prevented the infection by WannaCry on BitDefender protected machines.
BitDefender’s Florin Tapes sums up why BitDefender is different from the his competitors solution:
“Bitdefender’s culture of innovation built in the past 15 years started in 2002 with the IST Prize – considered the Nobel of Informatics – for MIDAS, the Malware Intrusion Detection Advanced System, a breakthrough technology that was considered at that time a revolution in the security industry.”
For more information on BitDefender contact ComputerWorld and join over 500 million other home and office users in enjoying protection from all modern malware threats.