How to protect yourself from “WannaCry” and other Ransomware

We wrote an article describing Ransomware back in March of 2016 which you can view here.

This time, we wanted to get into the specifics of the most recent Ransomware designated as “WannaCry” and what you can do to prevent this type of infection from affecting you or your business.

How it Works: Wannacry encrypts the data on your hard drive and displays a popup requiring the infected user to pay a $300 ransom to have the files decrypted within 3 days. It is recommended you do not pay the ransom as there is never a guarantee that your data would be unlocked as well as it promotes this type of attack in the future. Symantec has a more technical description of Ransom.Wannacry here.

How can I protect myself from WannaCry and Ransomware:  Staying up to date with your Operating System, Antivirus, and keeping your data backed up is the best way to mitigate the risk of being vulnerable as well as limit data loss due to an infection.

Perform Windows Updates Often: Back in March, Microsoft released a security update to address vulnerabilities that this attack exploits.  Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 is the patch that is currently available for all Windows operating systems.

If you are not sure how to check for updates, we have provided the following links that give directions based on your operating system.

Windows 10

Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1

Keep Antivirus Software Updated: Make sure you are not using expired antivirus software that is no longer receiving updates. It is good practice to schedule weekly scans and check your software often to make sure it is up to date.

Backup your Computer: External hard drives are inexpensive and you can turn on automatic backup in windows.  We highly recommend using a combination of a cloud backup solution along with a local backup which may retain previous versions of files. Carbonite is a great product and can keep all your data backed up from as little as $59 per year. See which plan is right for you.

Hardware Firewall: We recommend a firewall for your business that incorporates a comprehensive gateway security suite. Purchasing a router/firewall without a yearly subscription to updates / security is not protecting your data the way it is meant to. Sonicwall TZ Series can protect your organization with highly effective intrusion prevention, anti-malware, content/URL filtering and application control. Contact us for a consultation to see which is best for you.

Emails with Links and Attachments: Be cautious of any attachments you may receive that have Microsoft Office files that prompt to enable macros when opened. Do not enable macros and simply delete the email. Contact the sender and verify the authenticity of the email. Also, do not follow links in emails unless you are certain they are safe to visit. Most antivirus software will add an extension to your web browser that can analyze a website before the page loads and warn you if it detects anything suspicious. When in doubt, do not click the link.

The Tech Zen is an IT Company serving south east Florida and operating out of West Palm Beach. We have certified technicians and provide IT solutions for both Residential and Business clients. The articles we share are items of interest and related to some questions we have answered in the past. If you have a question or would like to schedule an appointment please contact us at 888-333-9757.

 

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