A new ransomware outbreak has captured a lot of press over the past couple of days. So much so that the US Department of Homeland Security has put out a statement on this ransomware. While trying to prevent exposure to this type of malware would be great, it will be difficult to do. Antivirus, content filtering, firewalls, proxies and other cybersecurity devices are good, but the only work against threats that they know about. Now that the wannacry malware is known, cyber defenses can be tuned to block it. However, a new version of the malware, with just a small change, might not be recognized as a threat until it is too late.
This again points out that protection against this type of threat can not be done by cyber defense tools alone. Ransomware is an effective attack if you do not have any other way to recover your files. This might sound obvious, but this is the best time to ensure that your backups are up to date, and stored off line. If your cyber defenses fail against the next ransomware and you get hit, at least you can recover at your pace, and without paying.
Here is what I have shared with many that I have been working with on this malware. I hope it helps you.
Recently, there has been a new cyber attack that has been spreading across the Internet. The attack has been named “wannacry” or “wannacrypt”. It encrypts files and demands a ransom in order for users to recover the files. Typically, the ransom is approximately more than $300 per system.
This attack uses a flaw in the Windows operating system to spread from one system to another. Microsoft has recently release an update to fix this problem, and we are working hard to ensure that systems are protected against this attack. However, patching alone won’t be enough to protect us from this attack, we will need your help.
Please make sure that you do the following to maximize your cyber safety.
- Ensure that your most important files are backed up. Further, make sure that backup is removed from your computer. For example, copy your important files to a USB disk drive and remove the disk once the copy has been completed.
- Do not open email attachments unless you are absolutely sure you know who sent you the email and what the attachment is. If you have any doubts, call the person that sent you the email to confirm the message.
- Do not download any freeware or “too good to be true” utilities from the Internet. These tools may be infected with malicious code.
- Do not visit any suspicious websites, because the ads that play on suspicious websites may be infected with malicious code.
And, if you see anything suspicious, or notice that files have been encrypted on your system, please contact your local IT support team at once.