Two weeks ago, media reports emerged of a variant of ransomware known as “WannaCry” infecting Windows computers, and was spotted in over 70 countries.
What is Ransomware? A form of malware, ransomware ruthlessly holds a computer’s data for ransom via encryption. If the user doesn’t pay the cybercriminal a certain amount of money within a certain amount of time, their data will be lost forever.
How to prevent infection?
Keep your security software up to date. TELUS Internet includes Norton Security at no additional charge. (Norton download required)
Keep your operating system and other software updated. Software updates will frequently include patches for newly discovered security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by ransomware attackers.
Email is one of the main infection methods. Be wary of unexpected emails, especially if they contain links and/or attachments.
Backing up important data is the single most effective way of combating ransomware infection. Attackers have leverage over their victims by encrypting valuable files and leaving them inaccessible. If the victim has backup copies, they can restore their files once the infection has been cleaned up. Ensure that backups are appropriately protected or stored offline so that attackers can’t delete them.
What to do if you’re infected?
Don’t pay the ransom. This is difficult, but authorities recommend that you not pay the ransom. There is no guarantee that the cyber criminals will actually release your data (many times they don’t) and they will mark you as a potential future victim who will pay.
Neutralize the threat & clean your system. You can use Norton Power Eraser (free removal tool) to neutralize the threat. To clean your system, you may need to get professional help to restore your system to its original state.
Update patches. Update ALL of your system patches (especially Microsoft) so they’re protected from the latest threats.
Avoid re-infestation and install security software. TELUS Internet includes Norton Security at no additional charge. (Norton download required)