Media coverage of WannaCrypt, the malware used to attack institutions throughout 70 different countries on Friday, sported headlines like "UPGRADE YOUR WINDOWS SYSTEMS NOW." We're here to provide two points of clarification to anyone who's worried:
1. Who may be at risk for WannaCrypt and needs to UPGRADE THEIR WINDOWS SYSTEM NOW.
2. What you can do to patch your system without trauma and drama, if you do need to upgrade.
So who's at risk?
-- Anyone who ignored the March 2017 security update, where the vulnerability was identified and Security Update for Microsoft Windows SMB Server (4013389) was rated as critical for all versions of Microsoft Windows.
-- Anyone who has not updated their system recently, and by recently, we mean "March 2017 or later."
-- Anyone who is running a version of Microsoft Exchange older than 2010.
So if you're running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, and you've been updating your system regularly, you are probably not at risk. According to analytics firm NetMarketShare, only about 7% of the world is at risk for WannaCrypt right now.
"Those who are running our free antivirus software or have Windows Update enabled, are protected. We are working with customers to provide additional assistance," Microsoft said in statement.
Now, if you're a reader who hasn't run security updates recently, do it. You may be used to waiting for a window to pop up so you can ignore it -- but you're going to have to hit Microsoft's website and get your updates that way instead. The company's directions for doing so are below. Thanks to eagle-eyed readers, I've updated them to reflect changes made since Microsoft published the how-to (which is, worryingly, still linked from the security update pages as the current how-to-upgrade directions).
- Connect to the Internet and open Windows Update from the Start Menu or search for "Windows Update" to begin.
- On the Tools menu, click Windows Update.
- If Microsoft Update is not installed, click Microsoft Update. Otherwise, go to step 7.
- On the Try Microsoft Update today Web page, click Start Now, and then click Continue on the Review the license agreement Web page.
- In the Security Warning dialog box, click Install to install Microsoft Update.
- On the Welcome to Microsoft update Web page, click Check for Updates
- On the Keep your computer up to date Web page, click Express to install high priority updates.
- On the Review and Install Updates Web page, click Install Updates, and then follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation.
- After you install the high priority updates, you can repeat these steps to install other updates. To do this, click Custom on the Keep your computer up to date Web page. Then, you can select updates from the sections that are listed on the navigation pane.