Since Friday, the global ransomware cyber-attack called WannaCry has affected more than 200,000 organizations in over 150 countries. Now on Monday, a security risk management expert told CNBC that even Apple is vulnerable to similar cyber-attacks.
Apple users vulnerable to such ransomware
The WannaCry ransomware seems to have used a flaw in Microsoft’s software to spread fast across networks and lock away files. The flaw was discovered by the National Security Agency. The mentioned cyber-attack hit thousands of outdated versions of Microsoft Windows computers on Friday. It locked up computers running outdated versions of Windows in shops, schools, hospitals and car factories in several countries and also demanded money from the users.
So far, Apple Mac computers are not being targeted by this cruel ransomware attack. This is because the hackers generally target Windows more because there are more computers running on the Windows OS than Apple’s OS. But this in no way means that Apple users are not vulnerable to such cyber-attacks.
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When asked if Apple users cannot be affected by such cyber-attacks, Aleksandr Yampolskiy, chief executive officer and founder of SecurityScorecard, said on Squawk Box that it is a common misconception.
“It happens that this attack is targeting the Windows computers. … But Apple is absolutely vulnerable to similar types of attacks,” the expert said.
Yampolskiy further said that users are not any safer with their data or information in the cloud.
“If you put things in a cloud, you depend on your third parties, you depend on your suppliers and if one of them gets hacked, you’re in trouble,” the security expert said.
As of now, there has been no comment from Apple on the matter.
How to prevent being attacked by WannaCry
The seriousness of the issue can be gathered from the fact that even the President of the United States Donald Trump ordered his homeland security advisor to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to assess the threat posed by the cyber-attacks. Windows users who have not updated their PC recently are vulnerable to this WannaCry cyber-attack.
A security fix was released in March to resolve the issue for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2016, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 8.1. People still running the mentioned versions who have not downloaded Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 should let Windows Update do the work for them or do it manually. Windows 10 users are not affected by the ransomware, notes ZDNet.
Microsoft also released a security patch for legacy Windows operating systems which are not supported anymore, notes ZDNet. Security updates can be deployed and downloaded manually for Windows Server 2003 SP2 x86, Windows XP SP3 x86, Windows XP SP2 x64, Windows 8 x64, Windows Server 2003 SP2 x64, Windows XP Embedded SP3 x86, and Windows 8 x86 directly from Microsoft. The Windows maker has also added a signature to its Windows Defender antivirus program to detect this complex ransomware.
Users are also advised to have all files backed up in a completely separate system.