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This month, attackers launched a global ransomware attack The Global Ransomware Attack and How to Protect Your Data The Global Ransomware Attack and How to Protect Your Data A massive cyberattack has struck computers around the globe. Have you been affected by the highly virulent self-replicating ransomware? If not, how can you protect your data without paying the ransom? Read More on a scale the world has never seen. Many vital agencies, such as hospitals and telecommunications firms, were incapacitated due to their computers being shut down by this malware. Though a security researcher thankfully killed it off preventing further spread, it’s still wise to make sure you’re protected against these types of attacks in the future.

We now know that the ransomware spread due an exploit in the Windows Server Messaging Block (SMB) protocol version 1. This is an outdated version of SMB, used to share files and printers among networked computers, that Windows still supports for backwards compatibility. Microsoft patched this issue in March, but affected computers were still vulnerable to attack if they were running the archaic Windows XP Windows XP Security Risks: They're Real And Heading Your Way In 2014 Windows XP Security Risks: They're Real And Heading Your Way In 2014 Given the extensive coverage, you could easily think Windows XP end of support was just a hype. Sadly not. Without security updates, the aging operating system becomes a Trojan horse in your home or business. Read More or hadn’t applied updated in Windows 7 for months.

On your own system, you can disable SMB 1.0 in just a moment — and because 99 percent of home users don’t need the old and insecure version of this protocol, you can shut it off without any loss of functionality.

Type Turn Windows features into the Start Menu and click the entry for Turn Windows features on or off. Scroll down to SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support and uncheck the box. Give Windows a moment to apply the changes, then you’ll have to restart your computer to complete the action. Once that’s done, you’ve disabled the awful, insecure protocol from running on your computer.

There’s no telling what kind of exploit the next big attack will take advantage of, but the most important advice remains the same. Make sure you’re automatically installing Windows Updates How to Find Out Every Last Thing About Windows Update How to Find Out Every Last Thing About Windows Update Once a month on Patch Tuesday, Microsoft releases cumulative updates to all Windows users. We'll show you how to gather information about updates and which Windows Update settings you should be aware of. Read More so you’re running the latest security patches. If businesses had made sure their Windows 7 machines weren’t outdated, the WannaCry attack wouldn’t have been nearly as bad.

Have you disabled SMB version 1 on your computer? Let us know if you knew anyone affected by WannaCry by leaving a comment!

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  1. Thomas Kainz
    May 24, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    Be careful, I tried disabling this setting and I no longer could access my Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. Took me awhile to put two and two together since it wasn't until about a week later that I caught on that I no longer had NAS access but once I reversed the disable, I immediately had access again!.

    • 919263
      May 25, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      You are right... I lost NAS as well, MUO, you are supposed to be a good source of information, and you should know that more than 90 users here use NAS so suggesting this trick was not very smart. I disabled this feature and then Could not access NAS at a critical moment when I needed it... Took me 20 mins and a couple of restarts to figure this out. Not Cool....

      • Ben Stegner
        May 26, 2017 at 2:26 pm

        I'm pretty sure that 90% of our readers aren't using a NAS. I'd guess that a lot of people reading the site don't even know what that is. But I do apologize for not noting that this could affect that. I suppose it's the user's call on security vs. device usage in those cases.

  2. Saibot
    May 24, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Disabling SMB1 can break RDP capability using some VPNs. Better test this change before you need remote access to your wife's laptop to retrieve that data you need right now.

  3. John
    May 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Fact check: Having Windows 7 would have not been more secure than the "archaic" Windows XP.

    http://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2017/5/19/15665488/wannacry-windows-7-version-xp-patched-victim-statistics

  4. Sean K
    May 23, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Um...what?

    Windows 10 wasn't vulnerable. Further, the easiest solution is just to remain patched. I'm not clear on what the point of this article was.

    • Ben Stegner
      May 23, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Windows 10 wasn't vulnerable this time, yes. But that doesn't change the fact that SMB 1.0 is outdated and insecure. No home user needs it running, so keeping it enabled is just a security risk.

      This way, if a similar strain ever pops up that uses SMB v1, you won't have to worry about it. Windows 10 could very well be vulnerable the next time an attack like this arrives.

      • Hardts
        May 24, 2017 at 9:38 am

        Yes, SMB1 is outdated, but what about file sharing with Linux? Getting rid of CIFS would prevent your Linux operating systems from sharing their files with Windows 10.
        I haven't tested this yet.

      • Tom
        May 24, 2017 at 7:22 pm

        When disabling SMB 1.0 I Lost file sharing on home network between Win 8.1 and Win 7.