WannaCrypt Ransomware

You will be undoubtedly aware of the large scale infection of many high profile organisations with a ransomware virus known as WannaCrypt. Ransomware encrypts your files (primarily document files) and then demands a fee for the decryption code. No matter what kind of computer (PC or Mac) or device you are using it is important you are aware of this issue and what you need to be doing.

15 May 2017 Frequently Asked Questions  Security

Article - Antivirus

You will be undoubtedly aware of the large scale infection of many high profile organisations with a ransomware virus. Ransomware encrypts your files (primarily document files) and then demands a fee for the decryption code. What makes ransomware even more malicious is that it will encrypt any file it can find and so if you have a network drive it will encrypt whatever it finds there which affects everyone and this is what typically causes the organisations most disruption. It may also look for other computers to infect and it does all of this silently and quickly. Ransomware is the preferred choice of criminals now and its use is only going to grow and expand further to target other operating systems and devices (so Macs, Android, iPhone etc.)

No matter what kind of computer (PC or Mac) or device you are using it is important you are aware of this issue and what you need to be doing.

Am I at risk?

If you have a PC and it is using later versions of the Windows Operating System, so Windows 7, 8.1 (not Windows 8) and 10 and your PC is up to date with the latest fixes and security patches, then you should be safe from this particular ransomware virus however you should still continue reading.

If you have PC that is running Windows XP or Vista then although an update will be issued by Microsoft you are at risk as these operating systems are no longer supported and so…

If you are not sure which version of Windows you have, press the Windows and R keys together and then type winver and then click OK – an About box will be displayed showing you which version of Windows you have.

If you have a Mac … you will not be affected directly however as this virus may spread by Email you should still exercise caution when dealing with attachments etc. which you may forward on to others and you should still continue reading. You should also be aware that ransomware viruses exist for Apple Macs so those using Macs are not immune from this kind of threat.

How can I protect myself in the future

New variations of viruses and ransomware are appearing all the time and the speed with which they are produced and can spread means that antivirus applications are not always able to keep up to date and provide the best protection. Ransomware writers are also keen to be able to target as many people as possible and this includes phones, tablets, Macs etc.

In order to protect yourself (and your colleagues/organisation) you should…

  1. Ensure you are using an up to date Operating System that is supported by the manufacturer (this applies whether you have a PC, Mac, tablet or phone).
  2. Ensure that your Operating System is set to automatically update itself and when it prompts you to restart to complete an update you do so as soon as possible.
  3. Ensure you have an antivirus application installed and again that it is up to date. For Windows 10 and Macs this is not so critical because of how they are secured but it is still recommended.
  4. Make sure you have and maintain a backup of your documents (not to the same device) etc.
  5. Do not rely on one type of backup, you should ideally use several types (e.g. cloud, copy to USB, copy to hard drive) in case one backup is out of date/corrupt.
  6. Before opening attachments, even from people you know, always take a moment to look at the message and see if it is in character for that sender.
  7. If you believe your PC/computer is being infected with a virus/ransomware, push and hold down power button until your computer switches off – this is the quickest way of stopping the virus in its tracks – it better to lose the document you are working on rather than all your documents and any that can be found on the network. Then you should call us.

The following articles/information may be of use:

If you have any doubts or you need advice on this issue, please contact us for assistance.

Tags  ransomsware security wannacrypt

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