Don’t fall victim to ransomware

On the 12th of May an unusual kind of ransomware attack infected more than 75,000 computers and networks in 99 countries. The ransomware called “WannaCry”, caused troubles in various parts of the world, but Ukraine, Russia and Taiwan were the top targets among other countries. This huge cyber attack particularly affected the most vulnerable small and medium sized businesses which don’t have adequate security solutions in store so they had to pay ransom.

What’s it about?

WannaCry is an unusual type of ransomware that doesn’t spread because of people clicking on suspicious links. It encrypts all the files and data on your computer and keeps it encrypted unless you pay ransom amount. The main targets of the ransomware are computers with Microsoft’s Windows operating system. The computers haven’t upgraded themselves to the latest Microsoft security updates. That is the reason to their failure.

Once the system is infected, there appears a popup with an instruction on how to pay a ransom of $300. In addition, there are also two countdown clocks: one clock shows a 3-day term after which the amount doubles to $600, another one shows a deadline when data on your computer will be lost forever. Payments are accepted in bitcoins only and there is no guarantee that after it you will get back access to your data.

How to protect yourself from ransomware attack?

1) Create backup copies of most important files

The worst thing about ransomware attack is the loss of files on your PC. Always create secure backup copies of all most important files and data on your computer. It will help you not to fall victim to any ransomware attack. For this purpose you may use cloud storages, but it also can be dangerous as they are vulnerable to other kinds of attacks. The most reasonable solution is to use an external hard drive as you can easily restore all necessary data on your PC. Backup version is the best decision and it will save you from pain, time and money if your computer gets infected by ransomware virus.

2) Update your antivirus software

One of the oldest and effective tips is to have antivirus software on your computer that can scan all files to see if they contain ransomware. If so, your antivirus blocks it and all malicious adverts when you are browsing the web. Your antivirus should have a special ransomware removal tool to wipe out any attempt of ransomware penetration on your computer. In case you don’t have such a tool, get it immediately to secure your files and data on PC.

3) Beware of suspicious links and emails

Emails with phishing attachments are sent rather frequently. As any other ransomware attack, phishing involves mailing with malicious attachment or a suspicious link clicking which malware infects your computer. The best way to prevent it is not to open those emails or follow dubious links.

4) Install the latest Microsoft patch

Take the time to install the Microsoft fix MS 17–010 right away and reboot your system. This technique will help you to protect your computer from unexpected ransomware penetration. In fact, always check and keep your computer updated to the latest security patches in order to avoid security threats.

5) Update your operating system

Update your OS to the latest version, preferably Windows 10 because despite the released by Microsoft fix for cyber vulnerabilities, there can be others but similar vulnerabilities on the OS.

6) Don’t ever pay

Never pay the required fee as it will definitely encourage the criminals to continue their malicious activity and it may not result in your data being recovered. Is you pay, hackers will launch another even more sophisticated attack in the future. Try to use programs that decrypt files or restore backup copies.

Bear in mind that we are not yet safe. The virus may attack again at the worst possible time. Following the tips given above can significantly reduce the risk of being infected by ransomware.

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