Running Windows? How to protect against the big ransomware attack

Yolanda Curtis
May 16, 2017

NHS computers were infected in the United Kingdom by the attack, along with computers in over 100 other countries including those owned by FedEx.

Make sure any anti-virus product is up to date and scan your computer for any malicious programs.

However, there is no clarity yet on whether access is restored upon payment of the amount demanded. Call it blackmail, extortion or anything you like, but there's no way you can get back your data without paying the ransom.

Sometimes, manual human intervention is required of the hackers to decrypt your files once you've paid. This could help you save a great deal of money as well. Instead, consider it one of many defenses that you can deploy.

Companies have been warning employees to be careful when clicking on attachments and links in their e-mails.

And thirdly, the way the ransomware is encrypting the files on a computer suggests it would be nearly impossible for the ransomware developers to decrypt them, even if they wanted to.

"My answer is, never pay the ransom", Lawrence Abrams, a New York-based blogger who runs told The Associated Press.

Which versions of Windows are affected?

"This is an emerging pattern in 2017", Smith says in a Microsoft company blog post.

How To Protect Yourself From WannaCry Ransomware?

Cluley said yesterday's attack also highlighted the risks that organizations take by not investing in updated IT systems and security.

It's worth noting, though, that in general home users should not be affected by this particular piece of ransomware.

CERT-In today said it has not received any formal report of cyber attack on India's vital networks by the crippling global ransomware, "WannaCry".

Since the attack, Microsoft has responded to the seriousness of the situation by issuing security updates to older versions of Windows that are normally unsupported.

According to Netmarketshare's desktop operating system statistics for April, no less than 7.04% of PCs out there are still using Windows XP (and a good number of them are likely to reside in a corporate environment).

Enable the "Show file extensions" option in the Windows settings on your computer.

Abatis hard drive firewall is a small piece of code that sits inside the kernel of the operating system software and controls what files are written to the permanent storage.

The malware was spread by fake emails, infecting computers on key networks over the weekend.

By following this advice you should be better prepared against ransomware attacks, including any resurgence of the WannaCry malware that is now circulating. "You only need one vulnerable XP device in the chain for the whole system to go down".

The attack was one of the largest ransomware attacks in history. In the case of WannaCry, there has been absolute silence from the hackers behind it. "You're only safe if you patch ASAP". But bear in mind that antivirus software is not a silver bullet and isn't foolproof.

CERT-In has been on an overdrive advising critical infrastructure agencies including banks, airports, telecom networks and stock markets to take precautions against the ransomware attack by downloading software "patches", PTI reports.

That's why it's important not to rely just on Windows' own security but to add an extra layer of protection. Our favourite is BitDefender, but there are plenty of other great options to choose from too.

If a machine is infected with WannaCrypt or other ransomware it needs to be wiped and re-imaged from bare metal.

Some security experts predict there could be a free "fix" to decrypt the files in a few days and remove the malware.

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