New research has revealed the importance of making sure you are running the latest versions of software and operating systems.
The research was carried out in the aftermath of the Wanna Cry cyber attack, which infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries and forced the closure of car manufacturing plants and hospitals.
Wanna Cry took over victim’s computers and encrypted all their files, only releasing them once a ransom was paid using Bitcoin, the popular digital currency.
It was originally believed that computers running Windows XP, the operating system Microsoft launched 16 years ago, were most at risk from Wanna Cry.
However, new research from cyber security firm Kaspersky has revealed that computers running Windows 7 were hardest hit by the ransomware attack, accounting for a staggering 98 percent of infected computers.
Windows 7 remains hugely popular with users and is still used on around 45 percent of all machines Microsoft’s operating system.
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it will continue to support Windows 7 until 2020, however, Markus Nitschke, Head of Windows at Microsoft Germany previously warned users, particularly business owners, of the dangers of using the operating system.
“Windows 7…does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments”, he said.
“Windows 7 is based on long-outdated security architectures,” he added.
In regard to Wanna Cry, Microsoft released a patch for Windows 7 back in March when the vulnerability was first revealed.
However, it would appear that many Windows 7 users for whatever reason didn’t update to the latest version.
It has been said that those running pirated versions of Windows are most likely to have not installed the latest update having been forced to switch off automatic updates in order to prevent Microsoft being alerted that an unofficial version of Windows was being used.
Microsoft has since said that Windows 10 is the version of its operating system that gives the best protection from Wanna Cry – and the data released from Kaspersky would also confirm this.
Post Wanna Cry, Microsoft is now urging users to update to the latest version of Windows 10.
“As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems”, Microsoft said.
In short – the best way to prevent your computer being infected with ransomware and other viruses is to make sure you are running the very latest version of Windows 10.
If you are still running Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 you might want to consider upgrading.
If you are running a pirated version of the any of the above operating systems, you only have yourself to blame if your machine becomes infected with viruses or malware.