Ransomware Attacks on Computer Systems in 150 countries
On Friday, May 12th, ransomware attacks hit computers in 150 countries. Among the large number of victims of this attack were the NHS in England and Scotland, the Spanish power grid, FedEx, and a German rail network. The ransomware locked all the computer files and demanded a payment of $300 (£230) to unlock the files. The ransomware warned that the cost would double if it had not been paid within three days and threatens to delete all files after one week. As of now, around $38,000 (£29,400) has been paid. This vulnerability exploit was rumoured to have been created by the NSA. Microsoft released a patch for this attack in April but all the victims, including the NHS, had failed to update their systems.
Currently no secondary attacks have been reported as of yet, but a VP at security firm Digital Shadows, Becky Pinkard, has said “Even if a fresh attack does not materialise on Monday, we should expect it soon afterwards.”
Cyberattacks are becoming more prevalent in the modern age and it’s more important than ever to keep yourself safe from these attacks. Here’s how you can protect yourself:
Keeping your computer’s operating system and its software up-to-date is vital in the fight against hacking. Software developers release updates regularly to make sure their software is safe to be used by the public and not leave them vulnerable to attackers. This goes for both desktop computers and mobiles.
Your antivirus is among the many pieces of software on your computer that needs to stay up to date. While some are better than others, having any antivirus on your computer is better than nothing. Surrey IT Solutions recommends ESET for all computer systems, especially businesses.
All the important files on your computer should be backed-up to the cloud or an external drive. There are plenty of cloud storage services provided by reputable companies like Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, and Amazon. This gives you the added benefit of being able to access those files on computer or mobile device.
Rise of Ransomware Attacks
Darren Thomson, CTO at Symantec in Europe, says their statistics show that one in every 131 emails pose a security threat. These attacks could be performed by getting the user to click on a malicious link, or to download and open an attachment. These malicious files aren’t always obvious and can be disguised as Word, Excel, and PDF documents.
If you’re looking for a security assessment on your current computer system or network, don’t hesitate to contact us.