The WannaCry Ransomware is a encryption based ransomware cryptoworm, which caused a worldwide cyberattack targeting the computers run by Microsoft Windows operating system attacking the systems that has older version of Windows or are not patched by Microsoft with the latest version of Windows.
Ransomware is malicious software that demands a ransom from the user within a stipulated time after restricting access to their computer or network and threatening to delete or corrupt their data.
The WannaCry Ransomware works by infecting a computer and encrypting it’s data or user files using AES and RSA encryption which enables the hacker to decrypt files with a decryption key. After that the user gets notified that their files have been locked and is asked for a ransom amount to be paid through Bitcoin in order to receiving the decryption key. Once the ransomware is inside the machines, it deletes the original files and makes encrypted copies of the same which cannot be accessed without the said key.
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The attacks began on 12th May 2017 on NHS, England and according to reports have infected 230,000 computers within a day including different organisations across the world along with government institutions in China, Russia, the US and most of Europe.
In previous WannaCry versions, victims have been sent “instructions” in form of notes for contacting the hackers and were dependant on the user’s action to infect the systems. The WannaCry 2.0 just needs to be set off once to go into it’s incorporated ‘hunter’ mode and immediately searches to infect other computers through your network. The ransomware is said to be changing a infected desktop’s wallpaper with messages asking to download the malware from Dropbox and demanding the ransom on Bitcoin. There are reports of increasing the amount threatening deletion of data and also giving out a specific time to increase urgency.
How vulnerable is your computer to WannaCry?
A computer using older versions of Windows that is no longer supported by Microsoft, including Windows 8 and Windows XP is considered to be vulnerable to the ransomware.
The ransomware can also attack a computer by action on the user’s end such as downloading a malicious file from the web, clicking on my any malicious link or clicking on any harmful attachment in an email.
How to protect your PC from or get rid of WannaCry Ransomware?
- The first and foremost thing to do is to immediately update your operating systems to the latest versions. If you are using Windows 10 or versions like Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 your computer will be protected automatically only if you keep the automatic updates enabled which will enable all latest update. Although updating an already effected computer will yield no result.
- Always be careful and alert about downloading or clicking on the web through unknown sources or via email. Prevent yourself from accidentally accessing malicious ransom links.
- Make sure to keep a backup copy of all of your files and that does not include backups on shared folders as ransomware can access and encrypt the same.
- Invest and install some decryption tools or anti-virus softwares that can detect and remove ransomware.
- If your computer is affected by WannaCry, immediately turn it off and contact the IT department.
- Refrain from paying the ransom as there is no actual guarantee of retrieving your lost data and by paying the amount you will only encourage the spread of the culture.
So,Guys as quoted by Alice Hoffman, “Every problem has a solution, although it may not be the outcome that was originally hoped for or expected“. Do not worry about “ransomeware”, just follow the simple rules and stay safe.
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