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How to Protect Yourself from WannaCry-Like Ransomware Attacks


The WannaCry ransomware has caused a scare across the world within a few days of being discovered. The biggest ransomware attack yet, WannaCry was temporarily stopped in its tracks by a British researcher by registering an obscure web address, even as it infected 200,000 computers worldwide.


People soon created new WannaCry versions that could not be taken out with the original fix. And the scope of this ransomware is huge. Computers in over 150 countries have been hit, from police departments in India to schools and universities in China, and from Britain’s National Health Service to Telef√≥nica in Spain.


The WannaCry hackers have demanded payments of $200 to $600 (roughly Rs. 13,000 to Rs. 38,000) in bitcoins from organisations as well as individual users whose computers had been infected, or else the data would be wiped.



STEPS TO BE SAFE

Never run files you don’t trust


Most pc worms, inclusive of WannaCry, unfold themselves with the assist of unwitting computer customers who run a document that they don’t understand sufficient approximately. These documents are despatched via emails as attachments, or through obscure URLs masquerading as safe links.
If you obtain an email from an unknown supply, or an executable record that you don’t accept as true with, never click on it. Discard it into your junk/ junk mail folder, or delete the report, and empty the recycle bin.
Moreover, Windows OSes because Vista have a safety function referred to as User Account Control, which restricts unauthorised applications, such as the ransomware in query, from complete administrative access. If an unknown app brings up a UAC prompt, steer clear of giving it the sort of permission.

Stay away from outdated and pirated OSes


The biggest reason for WannaCry’s success has been the fact that most institutions, corporations and government agencies had been running an unsupported version of Windows, or an outdated one – XP in most cases – owing to a lack of funding for their IT department. Malware like WannaCry rely on exploiting vulnerabilities in your system, and with Microsoft ending support for Windows XP in 2014, thousands of computers were at risk.

Third-party firewall and anti-virus


The sheer ubiquity of Windows around the world means that hackers and criminals usually design their code for the most common environment, which includes the default Windows Firewall and Windows Defender. And though both are capable, they are far from perfect.

If you wish to increase protection, you should consider investing in a good firewall and anti-virus, ideally a best each in its own regard. The two are often marketed together as ‘Internet security suites’ these days, but it’s better to go for an individual winner for improved security.

We have a long list of anti-virus solutions – paid and free – that you can look at, and there are several firewalls – Comodo, Kaspersky, and ZoneAlarm among them – that make a great contender.