Cyber-attack exposes risks posed by ransomware

Ransomware targeted older version of Windows not protected by latest security updates.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A massive cyber-attack primarily targeting Ukraine on Tuesday seems to be under control and other companies around the world are working to stabilize. U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck said its computer network was among those compromised.

This was a ransomeware attack where malicious software locks the data stored on a computer’s hard drives, asking users to pay $300 in bitcoins to unlock the machines.

Tech expert Tony Russell-Smith says the attack was in an old version of Windows that was not protected with the latest security updates.

“A lot of us computer nerds are making sure that people update their computers,” Russell-Smith explained. “And make sure the software update is scheduled to run on a regular basis.”

It’s still unclear who’s responsible for the attack. Experts speculate it could’ve been a Russian government sponsored attack designed for the Ukraine before spreading out of control.

You’re encouraged to back up your files, download the latest software updates and not to click on any suspicious links.