RansomWare: Wannacry Information

How it works:

WannaCry is a form of ransomware that locks up files on your computer and encrypts them in a way that you cannot access them anymore. It targets Microsoft’s widely used Windows operating system. When a system is infected, a pop-up window appears with instructions on how to pay a ransom amount of $300. The pop-up also features two countdown clocks: one showing a three-day deadline before the ransom amount doubles to $600, and another showing a deadline of when the target will lose its data forever.  Payment is only accepted in bitcoin, which is a type of digital currency and there is no guarantee that your files will be restored after paying.

How it spreads:

Ransomware is a program that gets into your computer, either by clicking or downloading malicious files. It then holds your data as ransom. Some security researchers say that the WannaCry infections seem to be deployed via a worm, spreading by itself within a network rather than relying on humans to spread it by clicking on an infected attachment.

Where it has spread:

Researchers said that  Russia, Ukraine, and Taiwan were the top targets of the attack, but dozens of other countries also reported system infections.

What Technology Services has done to prevent infection:

-Updated our servers with the latest emergency patches released by McAfee to detect and block Wannacry

-Pushed out the latest Windows and McAfee updates to all machines on the domain

What can you do to prevent infection:

According to Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center, here are the steps you should take to protect yourself against ransomware:

– Install and use an up-to-date antivirus solution

– Make sure your software is up to date (Windows and anti-virus)

– Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments or emails from people you don’t know or companies with which you don’t do business

– Ensure you have smart screen (in Internet Explorer) turned on, which helps identify reported phishing and malware Websites, and helps you make informed decisions about downloads

– Have a pop-up blocker running on your Web browser

– Regularly backup your important files to removable media (CD, DVD, portable hard drive, USB stick). Keep the backup files detached from your computer and the Internet.