WannaCry ransomware spreads like wildfire

by Haadi Bakar
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There’s a new cyber threat happening right now called WannaCry, and it has spread across tens of thousands of PCs globally over the weekend.

WannaCry is a “ransomware”: it locks the files in your computer until a ransom is paid. In this case, WannaCry demands ransom payments in the form of Bitcoin currency. It infects computers running Windows.

The breakout occured on May 12, when the ransomware attacked several large companies in Europe, including Spanish telco giant Telefónica and the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain.

According to Eueropol, as of Sunday, more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries have been affected by the malicious programme, and was described as “unprecedented” in scale.

If your PC is infected, there’s not much you can do other than wipe your internal drive clean and restore your system. There is no guarantee that you will get your data back if you do pay the ransom.

Prevention is better than cure, so it’s best that your computer’s defence systems are up and running and that you are well prepared for any malware attack.

You can protect your PC from WannaCry by updating Windows with the latest security patch from Microsoft. You should also keep your antivirus and other software up-to-date, and ensure that the Windows Firewall and anti-spam settings are turned on and properly configured.

It is also important that you take extra precaution when opening and reading emails. Do not attempt to open suspicious attachments or links from unknown sources in your inbox.

Regularly backing up your computer to an external hard drive is also highly recommended, so that when your PC is encrypted by ransomware, you can recover your data without paying the ransom.

In Brunei, there is a hotline available for those who wish to lodge a report on online threats and computer security incidents. In case you’re affected by WannaCry, you should immediately contact BruCERT at 2458001.

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