An unusual kind of ransomware cyber-attack has taken the world by storm, causing calamities in various parts of the world. Cyber security companies claim that this ransomware worm has infected around 75,000 computer systems in 99 countries this Friday, with Russia, Ukraine, and Taiwan being the top targets.
The ones most affected by this ransomware are small and medium sized businesses who have had to pay the ransom amount as they don’t possess the means to obscure themselves against such a massive ransomware cyber-attack.
How does it work?
The strangest fact about this ransomware is that it did not spread because of people clicking on bad links. WannaCry is a form of ransomware that encrypts all the files on your computer and you cannot access them unless you decrypt them.
It targeted Microsoft’s widely used Windows operating system. The computers that fell victim to this attack had not upgraded themselves to the latest security patch, released by microsoft about a month ago, which caused their downfall.
When a system is infected, a pop-up window appears with instructions on how to pay a ransom amount of $300. The pop-up also displays two countdown clocks; one showing a three-day deadline before the ransom amount doubles to $600; another showing a deadline of when the target will lose its data forever.
Payment is only accepted in bitcoins. Security experts have warned that there is no guarantee that access will be granted after payment.
What Can you Protect Against “WannaCry” Ransomware?
- Download the Latest Patch
Security experts advise to install the Microsoft fix—MS17-010—right away. After the installation, reboot your system immediately.
This patch will close the backdoor used by WannaCry to penetrate the system. In general, It is smart to always check and keep your system up to date. This way, your PC remains safe from all kinds of unwanted vulnerabilities.
- Install the latest Operating System
Although Microsoft did release a fix for the vulnerability, similar vulnerabilities may still exist on the OS. So it is wise to update your OS to the latest version, preferably Windows 10, as soon as possible.
- Backup your FILES immediately !!!
It is highly advisable to create secure backups of important data regularly to protect yourself from becoming hostage to such data thieves. You could also use Cloud storage, but It is a risk as it makes your data vulnerable to other kinds of attacks. Investing in an external hard drive would be the wisest option
This backup can save you from significant stress, time and money in the event when your computer becomes infected. You can easily restore your data on your PC.
- Beware of Dubious Emails and Links
Phishing emails are not uncommon. Just as with many other ransomware, the “spray-‘n’-pray” phishing attack involves spamming users with emails that carry a malicious attachment or link through which malware crawls onto your machine. The best defense in such cases is to avoid any such website or attachment.
- Up-to-Date Antivirus
Make use of your antivirus’ ransomware removal tool, which should wipe out any ransomware attempts found on your computer. If you don’t have one, get one immediately to protect your files and computer.
- Don’t pay
Like I said, paying ransomware does not guarantee its removal from your computer. Giving in to their demand and paying will give these attackers the incentive to continue such practices and launch another attack in the future. Try restoring a pre-infection backup of your computer. Just Don’t give in.
How long will Wanna Cry attack last?
Typically, Such ransomware attack don’t last long. However, there is nothing that can be said for certain as it keeps on spreading unless you update your system. Moreover, as anti-viruses and VPN understand new versions of the nature of such attack, they are able to prevent infections from initiating or disseminating to various parts of the world.