WannaCry is a current global ransomware cyber-attack that is taking advantage of a Window’s vulnerability known as Elite Blue.
What Is Malware?
Malware is short for malicious software which can be used to interfere with computer or mobile operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, etc.) Malware can do anything from gathering sensitive (usually financial) information to holding your files ransom to just displaying annoying ads.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts your information and demands payment to decrypt it Ransomware can encrypt individual files, a computer’s Master File Table, or a hard drive. Hackers create malware to extort money often demanding the victims pay via Bitcoin, an online global money transaction system where identities are anonymous. Ultimately the victim decides if the hostage information is worth the ransom.
Typically users have to do something to become infected. They click on a link, open a file, or connect external hardware. The WannaCry malware attack is different because it travels through the internet searching for machines that are vulnerable (Elite Blue). Although Microsoft pushed a fix for the vulnerability last month, not all users have installed the update. When the malware detects that a machine does not have the update it executes a cryptoviral extortion attack. Users then get a screen informing them of what happened demanding $300 to decrypt the files.
So far WannaCry has attacked tens of thousands of computers in over 100 countries and caused a hospital in England to cancel medical procedures.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM WANNACRY
Update Your Computer
Yes, the update notifications can be annoying, and they always pop up at the most inconvenient time, but they are important. Try setting your computer to automatically update on your off hours.
If you are using an unsupported OS such as Windows7 or Windows XP, Home Technology Experts highly suggests you update.
Back Up Information
There are many non-malicious ways you can lose valuable files. Backing them up to the cloud is the easiest way to ensure your important documents and beloved photos are safe.
Enable Your Firewalls and Disable Server Message Block
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own, Home Technology Experts or your IT guy can help you.