|There has been a lot of coverage in the press of the latest cyber attack, so we have drawn up the 4 basic steps you should take to protect yourself, and an explanation into the nature of the problem.
1. Complete all of the windows updates.
2. Ensure your Anti-virus software is running and updated.
3. Be suspicious of all emails you receive, particularly those that ask you to open a document or click on a web link.
4. Ensure you have backed up your important data (documents, photos & emails), and this is stored separately from your PC.
On May 12, 2017 a new strain of the Ransom.CryptXXX (WannaCry) strain of ransomware began spreading widely impacting a large number of organizations, particularly in Europe.
The attack works by encrypting your files with a password that leaves them unreadable. You then require a “key” to unlock the files which the hackers demand payment for.
Wcry (the hackers) are demanding a ransom of $300 to $600 in Bitcoin to be paid by a certain date, or, in the event that deadline is missed, a higher fee. The messages left on the screen say files will remain encrypted.
This type of attack relies on older software (Windows Xp / Vista) or unpatched software to allow it to get through to your PC. Users of windows Xp and Vista should contact Sevenoaks Computers about updating their software. Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10, have updates available to protect the systems.
The hackers also spam out a large number of emails asking users to open a document or click on a link, which will then infect your machine with the virus. These emails take many forms but often have limited text in the message and contain an attachment such as an invoice, pdf or link to open a document (purporting to be from Dropbox, a supplier, your bank etc).
If you are in doubt contact the sender by phone, if you do not know the sender, delete the email.
Please be extra vigilant, as once infected, the virus looks for and locks files across your network and attached devices (external drives etc), and the only option is to restore your data from a backup, if you do not want to pay the ransom or lose the data.