Weekend Windows Attacks Can Hold Your Data for Ransom

May 14, 2017 at 8:43 pm Leave a comment

This weekend hundreds of computers around the world were attacked by the WannaCrypt ransomware virus, and more expected to be infected as businesses reopen Monday.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a specific type of virus that when activated, locks you out of your files until you pay a cash ransom, normally sent using bitcoins, a non-traceable money wire system. When you pay, the bad guys might-and I do say might-give you the password key to unlock your files. WannaCrypt (nicknamed WannaCry) is ransomware. Other ransomware viruses include Ransomcrypt, EternalBlue.

Ransomware usually arrives to your computer as an eMail spoof, pretending to be from a delivery company, online store, like FedEx or Amazon.com. Once the unwary person clicks a link from the eMail the ransomware virus is launched, where it not only locks files on the computer, but if that computer part of a network  within minutes the virus will spread and encrypt files on every unprotected computer or server on the network.

What is WannaCrypt ransomware

The Black Screen of Ransomware Death

What appears when ransomware attacks.

www.thewindowsclub.com has a very good explanation about how the WannaCrypt ransomware works on their web site.

What about Macs?

The WannaCrypt ransomware is designed to attack Microsoft Windows computers and not Apple Macs.  Apples can still be a carrier of the virus by sending or forwarding an infected eMail to a Windows computer.

How to protect yourself (& others)

  1. Install and update your Antivirus / Anti-malware software.  Bitdefender (https://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/free.html) offers a free version that doesn’t bog down your computer and protects against the WannaCrypt viruses.
  2. Make sure your Windows has the latest updates. Microsoft is aware there is a lot of computers still running Windows XP, Server 2003, and Exchange 2003. They have created security fixes for those systems on their Technet website, https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/msrc/2017/05/12/customer-guidance-for-wannacrypt-attacks/
  3. Don’t open or click on strange eMails.

~The Computer Cat


Entry filed under: computer help, freeware, malware, ransomware, scams, virus alert. Tags: , , , , , .

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