What is WannaCry ransomware and how to protect yourself

WannaCry Ransomware

Cyber-attacks are common. But a cyber-attack that infects more than 200,000 systems across 150 countries in a span of two days is just mind-boggling. Such is the scale of WannaCry – a ransomware program that targets systems running on Microsoft Windows.

So what is ransomware and what does it do? It’s a software that restricts access to a file or a system until you pay the hacker a sum of money. In the case of WannaCry ransomware, the software encrypts the victim’s files and demands a sum of $300 to $600 in bitcoin in exchange for access to your files, making the victim literally want to cry!

From hospitals to telecom companies, government agencies to businesses, WannaCry ransomware has targeted them all, rendering thousands of systems useless.

Scale of the WannaCry Cyber Attack Scale of the WannaCry Cyber Attack

Protecting your system

Some of the major sources of ransomware include links in emails, email attachments, web links and links on social media. Systems running legacy software, unpached browsers or operating systems, outdated hardware, or ones that lack a comprehensive security software are at a greater risk.

However, there are some steps you can take from falling prey to this dreadful cyber attack.

Back up your files: Set up a recovery system so that the infection can’t destroy your personal data. Ensure that your backup files are not stored on a mapped drive, and are created in physically disconnected devices. Also, prefer a secure cloud server with high-level encryption.

Use Antivirus software: Installing a robust anti-virus software or Internet security suite is always a good idea to prevent cyberattacks. Anti-virus software block auto downloads and actively scan for suspected threats on the system.

Software updates: Keep your system updated and set your devices to install those updates automatically.  Software updates often contain lots of patches that fix bugs and close security loopholes.

Think twice before you click: 59% of infections come from email, and 40% of all spam email had ransomware. Make sure not to click on unsolicited emails or links in them and do not open any attachments.

As more and more businesses across the globe embrace digital, it’s crucial they make the right cyber-security investments to safeguard themselves from the challenges of the digital world. Find out what technology investments you need to make in order to protect your business in the evolving threat environment.

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