19/5/2017 420 Security Issues | Cyber Security | View Recent Current Affairs
- The WannaCry ransomware attack has hit about 150 countries globally, including Russia and the US. In India, five or six isolated instances have been reported in states like Gujrat, Kerala and West Bengal
What is ransomware?
- Ransomware is a kind of cyber-attack that involves hackers taking control of a computer system and blocking access to it until a ransom is paid.
- For cyber criminals to gain access to the system they need to download a type of malicious software onto a device within the network. This is often done by getting a victim to click on a link or download it by mistake.
- Once the software is on a victim's computer the hackers can launch an attack that locks all files it can find within a network. This tends to be a gradual process with files being encrypted one after another.
- Large companies with sophisticated security systems are able to spot this occurring and can isolate documents to minimise damage.
What is Wanna Decryptor?
- Wanna Decryptor, also known as WannaCry or wcry, is a specific ransomware program that locks all the data on a computer system and leaves the user with only two files: instructions on what to do next and the Wanna Decryptor program itself.
- When the software is opened it tells computer users that their files have been encryted, and gives them a few days to pay up, warning that their files will otherwise be deleted. It demands payment in Bitcoin, gives instructions on how to buy it, and provides a Bitcoin address to send it to.
- Most computer security companies have ransomware decryption tools that can bypass the software.
How to protect yourself against ransomware attacks
- The best protection against ransomware attacks is to have all files backed up in a completely separate system. This means that if you suffer an attack you won't lost any information to the hackers.
- It is difficult to prevent determined hackers from launching a ransomware attack, but exercising caution can help. Cyber attackers need to download the malicious software onto a computer, phone or other connected device.
- The best way to protect yourself is to be suspicious of unsolicited emails and always type out web addresses yourself rather than clicking on links. Another key defence is antivirus programs that can scan files before they are downloaded, block secret installations and look for malware that may already be on a computer.
- Victims are advised to never pay the ransom as it encourages the attackers. Even if victims do pay there is also no guarantee that all files will be returned to them in tact.