Already being hailed as the largest ransomware outbreak in history, it has been reported by the BBC that over 150 countries have already been infected by the WannaCry ransomware.

Allegedly stolen from US intelligence as part of a large collection of leaks, a so-called zero-day vulnerability was weaponised into a strain of ransomware – with the capability to spread without human interaction, a so-called worm.

In plain English these elements have created the perfect storm for this attack. Older, non-supported Operating Systems such as Windows XP cannot stop this kind of threat because they cannot be “patched” to remove the vulnerability. The Ransomware exploits the system because it knows how to attack that vulnerable computer. The fact that it was weaponised and deployed as a worm is something akin to using a Weapon of Mass Destruction, spreading like wildfire.

Security vendor Sophos say “90% of breaches are from exploits, 90% of exploits are from known vulnerabilities and 66% of IT staff lack incident response skills.”

If you are not actively patching your environments, monitoring your environments 24 hours a day or training your staff in matters of Security Awareness then your business will absolutely be vulnerable.

Also, be aware that legacy Anti-Virus solutions are also not going to give you the immediate level of protection you might expect, the threat here is from the exploit attempt and the subsequent high-speed encryption process running on the hard disk, neither of which your existing Anti-Virus technology will be looking for or can stop. You should seriously consider using proper Next-Gen Anti-Virus technologies that are specifically designed to combat these types of threat.