TECH: Ransomware Bulletin

Recently, hospitals, companies and government agencies worldwide were hit by a type of computer malware known as ransomware.
If you do not use anti-ransomware software on your computer, you should consider it now before you lose all access to your data by a ransomware attack.

Read the follow-up information at the end of this article.

 

RANSOMEWARE

WHAT IS RANSOMWARE?
Recently computers across the world were locked up and users’ files held for ransom which means files were encrypted or locked making them unusable until an unlock code was purchased and run on the computer. Dozens of countries were hit in a cyber-extortion attack that targeted hospitals, companies and government agencies.

What are malware and ransomware?
Malware is a general term that refers to software that’s harmful to your computer. Ransomware is a type of malware that essentially takes over a computer and prevents users from accessing data on it until a ransom is paid.

How does your computer become infected with ransomware?
In most cases, the software infects computers through links or attachments in malicious messages known as phishing emails. Never click on a link in an email unless it comes from a trusted source.

How ransomware works
“Ransomware is when your files are held for ransom. The malware finds all of your files and encrypts them and then leaves you a message. “If you want to decrypt them, you have to pay.”

How to avoid these attacks
There is “no perfect solution” to the problem.

  1. Users should regularly back up their data;
  2. Users should ensure that their security software is up dated regularly (weekly or monthly at the very least) Usually the best procedure here is to have the software set to ‘automatically update’ which ensures that the software being used is the most current.

Find and install Antiransomware software
An antiransomeware software which I use is called WinPatrol WAR found at www.winpatrol.com

Follow up  information from the antivirus company I use, AVAST:

No need to panic. 
We’ve got you covered
 
As you may have heard, a new ransomware attack, WannaCry, has been impacting individuals and companies the world over. We’ve found over 200,000 incidences in 112 countries and across 28 languages. It is a coordinated and large scale attack.
But there’s no need to panic: Your Avast protection detects all known variants of this ransomware.
Those 200,000 incidences we mentioned are Avast users who encountered the ransomware – and were protected from it immediately.
Because what you have isn’t just simple antivirus. You’ve got next-generation cybersecurity.
Machine-learning algorithms are working round the clock to anticipate new variants, and your on-board Behavior Shield monitors what applications are actually doing. So even if we don’t know what the next variant will look like, we’ll catch it when it springs into action.
But as strong as our protection is, it’s not a cure all.
Here a few other things you can do to stay protected:
Update Windows.
This ransomware exploits vulnerabilities in Windows. Therefore, we recommend you update your operating system with the latest security patches. If you are on an older version of Windows, you can find the security patches here.
Always make a backup of your data.
Hard drives aren’t that expensive, and the process is painless. A once-a-week backup is more than enough for most people. But if anything happens, you’ll be glad you have it.
Be wary of phishing emails.
This ransomware also spread via phishing emails, so be careful what you click on. Spread the word to friends and family – or get them to install Avast too.
 

 

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