Ransomware is a form of malicious software that locks up the files on your computer, encrypts them, and demands that you pay to get your files back. Wanna Decryptor, or WannaCry, is a form of ransomware that affects Microsoft’s Windows operating system. When a system is infected, a pop up window appears, prompting you to pay to recover all your files within three days, with a countdown timer on the left of the window. It adds that if you fail to pay within that time, the fee will be doubled, and if you don’t pay within seven days, you will lose the files forever. Payment is accepted only with Bitcoin.
How does it spread?
According to the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (USCRT), under the Department of Homeland Security, ransomware spreads easily when it encounters unpatched or outdated software. Experts say that WannaCry is spread by an internet worm — software that spreads copies of itself by hacking into other computers on a network, rather than the usual case of prompting unsuspecting users to open attachments. It is believe that the cyber attack was carried out with the help of tools stolen from the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States.
Some forms of malware can lock the computer entirely, or set off a series of pop-ups that are nearly impossible to close, thereby hindering your work.
What can be done to prevent this?
- Don’t open unwanted mail and attachment and website.
- Don’t click on a URL contained in an unsolicited email, even if the link seems benign. In cases of genuine URLs, close out the email and go to the organization’s website directly through browser.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi.
- Take backup of your Emails and data regularly.
- Up-to-date your Antivirus and Scan your PCs regularly.
- Ensure you take a backup of your data to some external disk regularly.
- Move the database backup / dump files to the safe location / Media (CD/ DVD / Tape Drive / Another Server / External HDD/ ….) on daily basis to safe your data backup from any such issue.
The ransomware virus is such lethal and smart that “it also drops a file named ‘!Please Read Me!.txt’ which contains the text explaining what has happened (to the computer) and how to pay the ransom.”
It was first reported from Sweden, Britain and France, but Russia and Taiwan are said to be the worst hit, according to US media. It is the fastest growing crime on the internet. These ransomware bullies are preying on us. But just by following a few simple steps we can protect ourselves from them.