Global Ransomware Attack – Semalt Expert Explains How To Prevent It

Cyber-attack wreaked havoc on hundreds of computers in over 160 nations during a single weekend of January this year. Besides, individuals and organizations are still worried for fear of unknown.

Oliver King, the Customer Success Manager of Semalt, provides some useful issues to prevent dangerous attacks.

Businesses that were impacted by ransomware included FedEx and the UK's National Health Service that was invaded by WannaCry (also known as WannaCrypt, Wanna DecryptOr or WCry). The malicious program WCry took advantage of security flow in Windows XP OS (Operating System) on personal computers (PCs). Additionally, this ransomware locked files on computer drives and demanded payment before unlocking the computer disks. Often, the hackers request payments through bitcoin, a synonymous digital currency.

Despite Microsoft sending a fix, internet authorities continue to warn of more and intensive ransomware attacks. Certainly, the concerned press has reported that ransomware cyber-attacks and virus continue to spread to thousands of computers when users are logged in across the world.

Often, the malware appears in the form of an email attachment. When an internet user clicks on a link provided in an email or opens an attachment, the program runs and installs on the computer. Initially, the email message might seem harmless because the sender might be in the recipient's address book.

WannaCry encrypts all documents and files on a computer such that the user is unable to access them anymore. Usually, a pop-up message follows up that indicates "Surprise, your files have been encrypted." A user is then given some time to remit a ransom of $400 to $600 or even more. According to cyber security experts, payment of the ransom is not a guarantee a fix. After all, one is dealing with internet criminals.

The freeCodeCamp cofounder and software engineer, Quincy Larson told ABC reporters that ransomware affects users when they receive emails or other types of messages requiring a user to download and install files. When such files run on a user's computer, the fraudsters encrypts the hard drive or its parts such that the device continues to operate but stored files cannot be accessed by a user.

Larson also told ABC that the most effective way of preventing ransomware scams is to ensure the operating system of a computer is up to date. Moreover, users should update security systems of a computer.

Finally, users can find out three more ways of protecting their computers against malware in the following section of the article. They include:

1. Computer owners and users should update older types of MS (Microsoft) operating systems such as Windows XP or Vista into the most recent versions to limit vulnerability to scams. Microsoft update links can be found on the company's official site for free. Thus, users must download any latest version of software once the company releases them.

2. User's files should be backed up remotely into drives that are not connected to the internet network. The user thus will not be hit hard after ransomware attacks because they can access their files from external drives.

3. Avoid opening a suspicious or malicious email attachment. Moreover, users should read reviews before downloading and installing programs.