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Dealers, do your computers still run the Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 2003 operating systems? Do you have a Windows Server 2008? Be aware that your machines are vulnerable to a new type of malware called BlueKeep that’s seeking to infect thousands of computers and could be more destructive than the WannaCry ransomware outbreak of 2017.
Microsoft released a patch in May to fix the vulnerability; however, close to a million computers and servers in the U.S. are still unprotected. The potential harm is so great that the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have joined forces with Microsoft to issue warnings and raise awareness.
BlueKeep is a remote code execution vulnerability, which basically means that if your computer and/or server is connected to the Internet, it’s vulnerable to being affected by this “wormable” malware, meaning it can spread from a single infected machine to every other computer in your network.
Not only that, but those computers can then infect other devices they’re connected with, rapidly spreading the bug to business networks and residential computers across the U.S. and other countries.
Once a computer is infected with BlueKeep, it allows hackers to exploit the affected machines by installing viruses and malware such as ransomware.
The BlueKeep vulnerability could be used to launch cyberattacks on the scale of 2017’s massive WannaCry attack, which infected more than 200,000 computers with ransomware and cost companies billions of dollars.
To protect your dealership from being infected by BlueKeep, be sure to install Microsoft’s most recently released operating system patch.
Better yet, upgrade to Windows 10 OS, which is automatically updated with the most recently released security patches. Computers with Windows 8 and Windows 10 operating systems are not vulnerable to the bug.
If you’re still using Windows 7 but reluctant to upgrade, you should be aware that beginning in January 2020, Microsoft will discontinue support for the old OS and so you’ll be forced to upgrade at that point anyway. May as well do it now.
But in the meantime, patch your computers and servers, because BlueKeep is out there, actively searching for vulnerable machines to infect.
Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated and aggressive in their attempts to breach business networks. The BlueKeep threat could potentially shut down your dealership’s operations and cost thousands, if not millions of dollars, to remedy.
A multi-layered approach to network security is highly recommended; as well as proactively keeping abreast of all the latest threats, and methods for protecting against them.