The average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150 million, according to a Forbes article. Since may 7th, hackers have been holding Baltimore City hostage, threatening to freeze computers, disrupt utility services, and bring business to a standstill until a ransom is paid.
EternalBlue is reaching new heights since the outbreak
A key component of the hacking tool being used by these digital extortionists to wreak havoc is the EternalBlue malware. It was created by the US National Security Service (NIS), but published online by a mysterious group calling itself the ShadowBrokers. It is in the same family tree as the WannaCry ransomware. EternalBlue is now being used by cybercriminals globally to launch crippling cyber attacks.
What is EternalBlue?
Actually, EternalBlue is the vulnerability found in Windows software. Windowsnamed the flaw EternalBlue MS17-010 and released a patch to seal the problem. Before the loophole was sealed, the NIS had developed a powerful hacking tool to penetrate the Windows’vulnerability.
Since it was leaked, shadow hackers and state actors have used this formidable cyber-weapon to penetrate Windows XP, 7, 8.1, 10 and Windows servers. Although Microsoft released the update over two years ago, up to a million computers that access the internet are estimated to be at the mercy of hackers since they are yet to be updated.
How to Protect Yourself
Digital attackers have been using eternal blue to perform a wide array of criminal activities. Apart from ransomware, they have also been used by crypto jackers to target companies around the world. If you are wondering how to protect from EternalBlue ransomware, here’s what to do.
Update Your Windows Software
The first step you should take toward protecting your computers is by updating your system with the security patch that was released by Windows, as stated by Wired. Before installing, disconnect the machine from the internet. This will protect your computer from damage if the malware is already present. Installing this patch closes the gateway that hackers use to sneak into your machine.
Have a Powerful Anti-Malware Software
Installing and regularly updating an anti-malware program can help you keep your computers safe from an EternalBlue attack. This software scans all incoming network data and blocks the penetration of any threat. It deals with malware, trojans, spyware, adware, and any other suspicious files. It also prevents any unauthorized programs from installing themselves on your computer.
Review Your Administrative Access Policy
Administrative privileges should only be held by a limited number of people in a company. When a large number of people are assigned administrative access, it poses a risk to your data and devices. An employee with malicious intent can use the login details to launch an attack on your company using the EternalBlue. Therefore, be careful about who you grant access to your IT systems.
Educate Yourself and Your Staff
Proper cyber hygiene can go a long way to keeping your computers safe from EternalBlue malware and other threats, according to the National Credit Union Administration. Poor practices are to blame for a large number of malware attacks. To protect yourself from an EternalBlue attack, keep yourself up to date on the latest cybersecurity practices, and also educate your employees.
Proper cyber hygiene can go a long way, experts say
Some of the steps you should take include creating complex passwords, using multi-factor authentication, encrypting devices that hold critical data which may attract hackers, verifying links before you click, scrutinizing new emails, and securing your routers by updating the passwords and removing the remote management setting.
EternalBlue has recently become the favorite hacking tool for cybercriminals. It evolves each day, making it harder to detect and eliminate. Until white hat researchers find a permanent solution to the malware, you need to take cybersecurity into your own hands.