CTECHSecurity TechHow to protect yourself against Ransomware (WannaCry Ransom ware)

How to protect yourself against Ransomware (WannaCry Ransom ware)

You might have heard of the recent Ransomware attached to Europe and North America. This particular Ramsomware self named “WannaCry” is quite a hard-case to deal with. Once infected there is not a lot you can do.

What makes Ransomware such a dangerous malware is the fact that it encrypts your files. The encryption uses Symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Symmetric and asymmetric encryption are combined in order to get the best of both methods, in a technique that resembles a digital envelope.

According to WeLiveSecurity, in symmetric encryption, the same secret key is used in both encryption and decryption methods, whereas asymmetric encryption involves a private key, which is known only by its owner, and a public key, which may be known by anyone, where the encryption method uses the public key and the decryption method uses the private key.

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WannaCry Ransomware’s Current Status

Many companies have already been attacked, including:

  • Russia ‘hardest hit’ (Including  interior ministry, railways, banks and the Megafon mobile phone operator.)
  • German railways
  • China universities
  • South Korea cinema
  • Japan companies
  • Indonesia hospital
  • India state police
  • UK hospitals
  • Spanish telecoms
  • France Renault
  • Ireland hospitals
  • Fedex
  • Australia SMEs

On Friday, a security researcher inadvertently created a “kill switch” to help stop the spread of this ransomware. However, the owner could rewrite the code to pretermit the “Kill Switch” and release it as a new version.

BBC reported early this morning that the ransomware has been slowing down, but it has not yet been stopped. Companies need to start protecting themselves from this for now and the future.

Here are 6 things you should do right away to protect yourself and your company from this worm.

 

1. Keep all software up to date

Ensure all software are up to date, especially your antivirus software. If you are running Windows 7 and above, ensure that windows defender is up to date with the latest definitions.

2. Upgrade from Windows XP

WannaCry and other Ransomware will focus their attacks on popular and unsupported versions of Windows. Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft. If you are using Windows XP or later versions, do not hesitate in upgrading.

3. Upgrade from old or unsupported internet browsers

Viruses and malicious software will exploit loop holes in old versions of browsers. When browser companies like Microsoft, Google or Mozilla find a security vulnerability in their browsers, it will be fixed in the next version – unless an emergency patch is released. You should always stay protected by ensuring you are running the latest version of your browser.

4. Do regular Backups

Ensure you do regular backups of your work, and most importantly, ensure you save those backed up copies in a hard drive that is kept off site, which means it should not be connected to a networked device at all. Ransomware, once infected, will begin infecting any other connected device.

5. Stay alert

The number one rule when using the internet, especially when browsing websites that you know might not be one hundred percent safe, is to not click on links you are not sure about or download files from a source that you are not positive is genuine.

6. Do not download or use pirated software

We all like free software and there are a lot of free alternatives of paid software out there that you should definitely check out. But do not use pirated versions of a software. Apart of it being illegal, it also, most likely, consists of viruses and malware. Pirated software are also likely of having backdoors that can allow access to your computer and data.

Ransomware will use a lot of mediums to unfurl, for example through emails and other spammy websites. WannaCry has been reported to target users through email, but others might not. If you do all of the tips listed above, you should not have to worry too much.

 

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