Patching WannaCrypt: Dispatches from the frontline

I work as a system administrator for a large financial organization and we first heard about WannaCrypt (also called WannaCry) late last week via the news, as well as our internal security department. We knew we had to scrutinize the situation to determine the best course of action.

One of the elements behind the success of WannaCrypt is the fact it can spread using Microsoft Windows Server Message Block (SMB), which is a way to share files in Windows. This means the phishing email doesn’t have to even reach a system for it to become compromised. As a result, some security officers and upper management are now panic-stricken like stranded characters in “The Walking Dead,” listening to the walkers (zombies) banging on the doors as they huddle trapped inside a bunker.

We talk a lot about ideal toolkits on TechRepublic, but there are also many useful interpersonal or “soft” skills which come in handy when relating to others. Diplomacy and common sense are among the greatest of such skills. When the security team or execs are pushing for everyone to drop everything now and patch all systems across the board, it’s important to keep perspective and develop a logical plan everyone can agree on which serves the needs of the users, administrators and overall organization.

In this article, I’ll speak from first-hand perspective on how a threat of this magnitude should be approached from a system administrator perspective.

Read full news article on TechRepublic