NEVER pay the ransom!!!!
No doubt you will have heard about the ransomware virus attack in the news WannaCrypt also known as WannaCry.
The first thing I will say is NEVER pay the ransom, the second is Don’t Panic.
What is WannaCrypt in a nutshell?
Basically WannaCrypt is a self-propagating virus that exploits a vulnerability in older versions of Microsoft Windows operation systems. The initial infection is downloaded to a computer via a website or more likely a phishing email or there is the very small possibility that your firewall is not correctly configured and the system has been hacked.
Once active on your system the virus tries to propagate itself around your network and then will make encrypted copies of your files while deleting the originals, it will then display a warning message on your computer requesting that you pay a ransom; I cannot say enough times “NEVER pay the ransom”.
Prevention for WannaCrypt and all viruses, “Prevention is always better than cure”
Prevention is fairly straightforward:
- Always find and apply the most up to date patches for your windows operating system, the patch to prevent the WannaCrypt ransomware was actually issued by Microsoft 2 months ago, so if you haven’t applied service packs, patches or updates do it NOW. In fact it is always good practice to ensure all of your software has the most up to date patches applied.
- If you are still using Windows XP on your network there is a special patch available from Microsoft install it NOW from this link: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/msrc/2017/05/12/customer-guidance-for-wannacrypt-attacks/ or if you can, upgrade your operating system to a more up to date version as soon as practically possible, please remember Windows XP has not been supported or updated by Microsoft for a couple of years.
- Ensure that you have Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware software installed. For non-commercial use there are lots of free products available. As long as you keep the AV software up to date, in most cases, this software will prevent infection. Schedule your AV and Anti-Malware software to run regularly to weed out any potential Trojans.
- Always be vigilant when opening emails or browsing websites, never just click on links or open attachments unless you know they are safe. If in doubt DON’T. If by accident you click a link or an attachment and a box pops up do not click anything on that box – try to close the box via Microsoft task manager (right-click on the Taskbar and select “Task Manager”), close the website or delete the email and immediately run your AV software.
- Always ensure you have a backup of your critical data, daily and weekly, this ensures that you have several options for data recovery in the event that your systems become infected.
- If you see any strange behaviour on your computer, boxes popping up, ransom requests, virus warning messages not from your AV or Anti-Malware, the best course of action is to shut down your computer immediately and inform your IT team or IT support company. They will be able to either remove the virus and save your data or rebuild your system and restore the data. With the WannaCrypt virus, although the data has been deleted once the virus is removed, in some cases, it maybe be possible to use data recovery utilities to restore your data.
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