How to protect yourself from WannaCry Ransomware

Ok let’s get down to business.

Yes, the first version of it was accidentally slowed down by a scientist. He achieved it by registering a domain that served as a kill switch for the ransomware.

Reports confirm that the ransomware attack has now infected over 200,000 organizations and individuals in 150 countries according to Europol. Please be aware that many organizations will try to avoid negative publicity because it will damage their reputation thus these statistics are not representative of the real numbers of infected organizations.

“For now, it does not look like the number of infected computers is increasing,” said a Europol spokesman. “We will get a decryption tool eventually, but for the moment, it’s still a live threat and we’re still in disaster recovery mode.”

As new variations of the ransomware still emerging ;in a desperate effort by hackers to increase their impact capabilities and showcase their power; If you want to protect yourself and your business at least do the following immediately:

1. Back-up your data yesterday to offline storage devices.

2. Keep more than one backups of the same data. If possible 3 or more.

3. Keep some of the backups away from internet connected devices a.k.a air gapped devices (preferably machines which have never been connected to the internet or shared data (through flash drives with other devices which might already be affected). We do not know all the possible variations of the malware thus, let’s keep all our bases covered.

4. If you can create an image of your computer then do it immediately. At this stage hackers are unstable because of the unexpected turn they faced and we do not know what they will do out of desperation. Their desperation may become a trigger point for a different form of the attack (other type of malware) in an effort to make it so that organizations to not see it coming. If you cannot create an image of your computer content then at least record your software along with license keys as well as installation files (if you cannot find them online) to offline backups as well. It will speed up your recovery process in case your devices are infected.

5. Update your computer if you are a Windows user. Immediately install the security patch that Microsoft has released to block the specific exploit used from the WannaCry ransomware. For unsupported version of Windows like Windows XP, Windows 2008 or Server 2003, you can get the patches here. However this is an emergency patch. You should upgrade to a supported version of Windows as soon as possible. Windows 10 is said not to be affected by WannaCry.

6. Have an anti-virus program installed and keep it up to date. If you don’t have anti-virus software enabled on your Windows machine then at least enable Windows Defender (free).

7. Disable “SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support”. You can find it at Control Panel ->Programs ->Turn Windows Features On or Off. Scroll down the list to find the “SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support” option. If it is ticked, untick it and press Ok. Let the system do the change. Then restart your computer.

WannaCry? Keep doing exactly what you do. Who needs protection after all?

WannaLaugh? Make a responsible decision to start permanently protecting your business today instead of waiting to the last minute. Hackers are here to stay and if you want your business to survive you need to accept that and strategize on how to keep them away.

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