A ransomware is a malicious program that encrypts your files and then demands the ransom money in order to decrypt your files. Unless you pay these cyber-criminals the money they ask for, you cannot recover your files. WannaCry (also known as WannaCrypt) is the latest of these ransomware that is making news these days. It uses a very well known vulnerability found in the Windows computers that stayed unpatched even though Microsoft has released the security update for this vulnerability. Of course, if your Windows PC is running on anything older than Windows Vista then you won’t be able to receive the updates anymore.
Here are five steps to prevent the WannaCry ransomware from attacking your computers:
- Install the Windows security patch MS17-010 in your computers. This patch will take care of the EternalBlue vulnerability that was made public in the January of this year. Microsoft patched this vulnerability in March 2017. You can get this patch either through the automatic Windows updates or by visiting https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx. You can also use 360 NSA Cyber Weapons Defense Tool for automatically installing all the patches.
- Enable automatic updates in Windows. If you have enabled automatic updates in your Windows PC, you won’t have to worry about manually installing the security patches. You can enable the automatic updates simply by running the Windows Update Minitool. This tool works for all the versions of Windows.
- Create a backup of your important files. Since WannaCry, like all the other ransomware, encrypts your files and then decrypts them only after you pay up the ransom, you should keep a backup of all of your important files so that you can recover them even if your system becomes a victim of ransomware attack. You can use a backup software like Uranium Backup and AOMEI Backupper to create the backups.
- Install a good antivirus software in Windows. If you have installed a good antivirus software in your PC, it will detect and stop the ransomware before it begins to infect your computer. There are so many antivirus solutions that you can pick from MS Security Essentials, Avast, AVG and more.
- Install anti-ransomware products for extra security. Even though the popular antivirus software as mentioned above are usually enough for the protection from all types of malware, you can add an extra layer of security using tools that specialize in fighting ransomware. Software such as Temasoft Ranstop, Malwarebytes anti-ransomware or Bitdefender anti-ransomware can both prevent and block ransomware attacks. In addition, they can also recover your files if they are altered by the ransomware.
WannaCry infections started out when people opened the spam email messages and clicked on the specially crafted links embedded inside the email messages. So apart from all the above steps, you should also avoid opening suspicious email messages or opening untrustworthy websites.