Are You Protected? How To Avoid Ransomware Attacks

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Over the weekend, a cyber attack the likes of which the world has never seen held important data, pictures, and information hostage demanding Bitcoin ransom payments from anxious users everywhere.

An unregistered web address was hidden in the code, and the virus would always try to contact that address when first infecting a computer.

Computers booting up to start the workweek might continue the spread of "WannaCry", a ransomware attack where hackers lock down a computer and threaten to delete all its data unless a ransom is paid. That's why it's called ransomware.

However, the harshest criticism was left for the NSA, who had the software that was responsible for the cyberattack stolen.

Authorities say that the malicious software - known as WannaCry - was developed by the U.S. National Security Agency and was later stolen by a secretive group known as the Shadow Brokers. Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability in March. This allowed users of the older systems to secure their computers without requiring an upgrade to the latest operating software.

Consumers are also at risk.

Whether you manage a network or only have one computer, you should download security updates as soon as they are available - no matter what operating system you use.

Governments and computer experts girded Monday for a possible worsening of the global cyberattack that has hit more than 150 countries, as Microsoft warned against stockpiling vulnerabilities like the one at the heart of the crisis.

Germany's rail network Deutsche Bahn, Spanish telecommunications operator Telefonica, US logistics giant FedEx and Russia's interior ministry are a few of the significant organizations that have been targeted. The company rates the update as "critical" for supported Windows releases. Even before Friday's attack, all those who updated systems were largely protected from it.

The attack also proves how potentially risky massive computer disruptions can be.

Friday's attack largely hit businesses and large organizations: United Kingdom hospitals, a Spanish telecom, FedEx, the Russian Interior Ministry, and more.

Smith's statement made no mention of pirated Microsoft software, users of which can not download the security patch.

An equally important thing is to back up all the important data on your computer. Install all Windows updates. 5.

Because this attack is so contagious - it self-propagates, slithering from computer to computer without any human help - Microsoft decided it had to build a patch for that antique system too.

Matthew Hickey, cofounder of security firm My Hacker House, created a virtual inoculation for companies to use to prevent ransomware while they work on patching. Fortunately, someone figured out how to stop the attack last week, but that doesn't mean it's over.

"I'm anxious about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn on their machines on Monday", he said. Suspecting that the address had something to do with how the virus communicated-a common feature in botnets and other types of malware-MalwareTech registered the domain and watched as traffic from thousands of infected computers came flooding in, almost overloading the server hosting the domain.

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