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What is WannaCry, Ransomware & How to stop it

By 24 May 2017March 30th, 2024No Comments
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What is WannaCry?

WannaCry or wcry, is a specific ransomware program that locks all the data on a computer system and leaves the user with only two files: instructions on what to do next and the Wanna Decryptor program itself.

When the software is opened it tells computer users that their files have been encryted, and gives them a few days to pay up, warning that their files will otherwise be deleted. It demands payment in Bitcoin, gives instructions on how to buy it, and provides a Bitcoin address to send it to.

Most computer security companies have ransomware decryption tools that can bypass the software.

It was used in a major cyber attack that affected organisations across the world including the NHS and Telefonica in Spain.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a kind of cyber attack that involves hackers taking control of a computer system and blocking access to it until a ransom is paid.

For cyber criminals to gain access to the system they need to download a type of malicious software onto a device within the network. This is often done by getting a victim to click on a link or download it by mistake.

Once the software is on a victim’s computer the hackers can launch an attack that locks all files it can find within a network. This tends to be a gradual process with files being encrypted one after another.

How can I protect myself from ransomware?

We’re tempted to say don’t visit a UK hospital but that’s a bit tongue in cheek. But here are some important tips:
Use antivirus, it’s immensely important – BullGuard Antivirus combines signature and behavioural-based detection. This stops known viruses and malware files and also blocks ransomware.

Have a healthy dose of scepticism – the most common way that ransomware gets into a computer is phishing emails, malicious adverts on websites, as well as apps and suspicious programs.  Give unsolicited emails a wide berth and make sure you use antivirus that flags up suspicious websites and malicious links.  Don’t download apps from unofficial app stores (ransomware targets mobile devices too) and avoid installing programs that are not from a official vendor.

Update, update, update – software updates are released regularly by companies to fix vulnerabilities that could be exploited to install ransomware.  Some operating system updates happen automatically without you doing anything but some software requires that you ‘authorise’ the update. Be sure to apply all updates.  We recommend that you are on the latest version of windows 10, If you are unsure just ask one of our team.

News Source: The Telegraph