In May, two world-wide Ransomware attacks infected 200,000 computers in over 150 countries. This was a problem that should never have even happened at all. So, how did it happen?
The infected computers were not ‘updated’ quickly enough. Both strains of Ransomware, known as “Petya” and “WannaCry”, were developed to take advantage of a Microsoft Windows Operating System flaw. A timely update would have easily patched this vulnerability.
In fact, Microsoft had already issued a patch to eliminate this flaw. But only those who timely updated their devices, as soon as the security patch became available, were safe. The lesson learned here is to always, always keep your devices updated. All your devices should be set to automatically do these updates, as soon as they become available.
Additionally, many of the infected computers were using outdated operating systems. Microsoft no longer issues security patches or updates for Windows XP, Vista and Windows Server 2003. If you are still using an outdated operating system, it is imperative that you upgrade to a newer one, so your computer is protected from dangerous exploits.
Go here for Microsoft’s free security updates for older operating systems: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/msrc/2017/05/12/customer-guidance-for-wannacrypt-attacks/
TIPS TO AVOID FALLING VICTIM:
First: Ransomware is easily spread via phishing emails. Phishing emails include an urgent link or an attachment. Unsuspecting victims are lured into clicking on or opening them. Never click on links or open an attachment in an email or text message, unless you are 110% sure it’s safe to do so! You must always first verify that the email or text message is legitimate.
Second: To help prevent losing your files from Ransomware, you must regularly back up your files, either in the cloud or copy important files to a separate external hard drive or flash drive that is not connected to your device.
Third: You should never pay the ransom! There is no guarantee that you will ever get your files back by simply paying the ransom! In fact, paying the ransom simply puts you on a “Sucker List”.
Here is a great resource website: https://www.nomoreransom/org/ The website provides free decryption tools that have proven to be effective against many, but not all, strains of Ransomware.