Ransomware - paying for access to files

A massive cyber attack struck the globe last Friday, affecting 150 countries and over 250,000 computers including those of major government organizations and corporate operations. This ransomware dubbed ‘WannaCry’ is fearsome because once it is activated on a device, it encrypts all the files so that they are inaccessible. At that point, it instructs the computer owner to pay a ransom in Bitcoin in exchange for unlocking their files. 

So what can you do to make sure you’re protected against this vicious ransomware?

  • Be a conscious clicker: an email or some other form of message can contain infectious attachments and links that can spread malware onto your device.You can simply hover your cursor over email links to reveal the URL’s destination. If you are not sure, do a search on the sender to find out more and stay on alert.
  • Don’t be forgetful about updates: immediately install updates to your operating system and to all your software as they become available. Such updates for your device’s system are designed to fix vulnerabilities which ransomware can target. 
  • Backing up your files is key: ransomware works with a hacker first encrypting your hard drive, which makes your computer still operable, but the catch is that you can’t access any of your files. If you already have your important files backed up on an external drive, you would not have to pay a hacker to decrypt them if you get attacked.
  • Remain aware on social media: social media is all about connecting and sharing with others. Therefore, it is essential to remain in a security headspace to avoid clicking on infectious downloads when on Facebook, Instagram, or even Snapchat.
  • Always stay official: remember to only download apps from official application stores. This will reduce the probability of downloading a pirated versions of apps that contain infectious malware.

All in all, staying vigilant on the web is the most crucial wisdom. Hackers around the globe are always looking for new ways to make trouble in return for their almighty dollar, so don’t make their lives easy.  Always think twice before clicking and make sure you are using updated versions on your system. If your device becomes affected, get in touch with Europol for assistance in your native language.


Fortune, http://fortune.com/2017/05/14/ransomware-wannacry-faq/

Owl Detect, https://www.owldetect.com/uk/stay-safe-online/archive/nhs-cyber-attack-what-steps-have-you-taken/

ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/US/simple-things-protect-ransomware-attacks/story?id=47410339