UPDATE: The Petya/NotPeyta malware has hit U.S.-based computer systems including a hospital, Nabisco, Mondelez food company and a nuclear power plant, ABC news reported Thursday, citing US officials and private cybersecurity analysts. There wasn’t evidence that the malware had breached sensitive or operational systems, according to ABC.
A new form of malware hit the internet Tuesday, shutting down systems across Europe and impacting companies from the U.S. to Russia. Unfortunately, the attack, which early reports indicate seems to have hurt Ukrainian organizations and agencies more in particular, is still largely a mystery for security researchers. Well, I already talked about Ransomware here.
A form of ransomware, the malware encrypts a victim’s PC and demands that they pay $300 in exchange for the keys to unlock their computer or lose all of their data. The attack even managed to affect radiation monitoring equipment at the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site, forcing workers to rely on manual checks instead. I already predicted a wannacry ransomware comeback in my post here.
If your computer is infected with this kind of malware, your best option is to simply erase the entire system. Ransomware programs sometimes require you to pay in Bitcoin, an anonymous currency that can’t be tracked.
However, criminals have increasingly begun demanding payment in the form of iTunes or Amazon gift cards, since the average person doesn’t know how to use Bitcoin, according to McAfee’s specialist- Gary Davis.
The amount you have to pay to unlock your computer can vary, with some experts saying criminals will ask for up to $500! To operate your Android phone without touching it, click here to see my full trick in that regard
To be factual, ransomware doesn’t just target Windows PCs. The malware has been known to impact systems ranging from Android phones and tablets to Linux-based computers and Macs.
How to protect yourself
Ransomware attacks vulnerabilities in outdated versions of software. So, believe it or not, the best way to protect yourself is to constantly update your operating system’s software and apps like Adobe Reader. That means you should always click that little “update” notification on your desktop, phone, or tablet. Don’t put it off.
Beyond that, you should always remember to back up your files. You can either do that by backing them up to a cloud service like Amazon (AMZN) Cloud, Google (GOOG,GOOGL) Drive or Apple’s (AAPL) iCloud, or by backing up to an external drive.
That said, you’ll want to be careful with how you back up your content. That’s because, according to Kaspersky Lab’s Ryan Naraine, some ransomware can infect your backups.
A ransomware attack screen designed to look like an official message from the F.B.I, just like in the image above.
Avoid staying logged into your cloud service all the time, as some forms of malware can lock you out of even them. What’s more, if you’re backing up to an external hard drive, you would want to disconnect it from your PC when you’re finished, or the ransomware could lock that, as well. Formatting is just the solution to ransomware.
And to my readers, what would you do if your computer or phone gets infected with a ransomware virus? Comment below