An avalanche of Ransomware attack has targeted 200,000 windows computers in 150 countries and the number is growing. This extremely fast spreading attack is being used in combination with a worm, which means that if one computer is attacked it automatically spreads to the other computers in the network.
What is it?
It’s malicious software that takes a computer hostage and asks for money, to be paid in return of being released from the grip of this software. In this attack, Ransomware locks down the target computer and encrypts its data preventing the owner from accessing the information until he/she agrees to pay a price to make everything right again.
Businesses and organizations seem to have been hit quite hard, why?
It has been noticed by the security experts that the attack could have been prevented if the businesses and the organizations had kept their systems up to date by updating the latest software. In reality, a lot of people skip that part as it’s not a priority or there is a lack of funding to update the latest software and therefore is considered as a waste of time and money.
A lot of organizations, in order to save money, go for pirated versions of Microsoft, as they feel it would be better to save money rather than buying the original thing, these people are subjected to high risk, they don’t get updates notifications and end up not updating their systems, they risk it all by doing so.
Because of the spread of WannaCry Ransomware, there is no valid excuse that companies around the world should have; it is just the cost they have to pay to stay in business.
Protecting You from Ransomware:
The first and the foremost thing is to make sure your device’s software is up to date. Software updates fix the bug and also if any security loopholes are present, you should routinely update the windows or your Mac PC to steer clear of such threats. The easy way to do it is setting your device to install the updates automatically so that there is no chance that you forget it.
In addition to this, there are other ways you can protect yourself:
- Installing an antivirus can help a lot, it will enhance the security, will prevent any sort of malware from infecting your computer, but even here you need to keep the antivirus up to date
- Create backup for the files that are very important, either using an external hardware or cloud based storage.
- Keep check on your passwords, make them hard to remember, you can use password manager to keep them securely in a single place rather than using the same password everywhere you should have a unique password for every account that you use.
- For an organization the IT administrators need to make sure that the devices they use are protected from WannaCry.
- Install a pop-up blocker for your web browser.
What to do if already infected
If it is too late and you already are a victim of Ransomware, the first step ideally should be to disconnect your devices from the internet so that the other devices do not get infected. The next steps should be reporting the crime to the authority concerned and looking for assistance from a professional specializing in data recovery in order to find out if you can recover the data and if that’s not an option don’t give up just yet, there can be new tools that might help you unlock the data in future.
When very important data is involved it might seem lucrative to pay a ransom but with WannaCry Ransomware it should not be a choice for anyone, that’s because hackers are overloaded with requests and apparently many who have paid the ransom have received no reply.