Tuesday, May 16, 2017

WannaCry Ransomware and You

As I'm sure you've heard by now, at least 150 countries were hit by ransomware last week. The ransomware, called  WannaCry (also know as  WanaCrypt0r 2.0, WannaCry and WCry), is was one of the worst attacks on record.

Ransomware infects your computer by secretly installing malicious software that locks up your computer and encrypts you computer files. Money is demanded as a ransom. When paid, the files will be unlocked and unencrypted.

The WannaCry attack popped up a red screen with the words, “Oops, your files have been encrypted!” The hackers demanded money through online bitcoin payment - first $300 then rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.

Ransomware warning
According to Kim Komando, "The attack has targeted private companies and public organizations, but it's spreading so fast no one is safe." She recommends three steps to take now:
1. Install Microsoft's patch
2. Backup your data
3. Install all Windows updates
The article is worth reading, because it includes a link to information about if patching is impossible by disabling your computer's Server Message Block (SMB) service.

Also use a trustworthy security software to protect yourself from future attacks.

In this day and age of heightened cyber-warfare, each of us should be diligent about protecting our electronic devices from ransomware and other malicious software.

Related reading:

Factbox: Don't click - What is the 'ransomware' WannaCry worm? - Reuters

AP Explains: What is ransomware?