You don’t WannaCry over a Computer Virus: Steps to Take

It’s getting tougher to own a computer these days. First, you pay hundreds of dollars for the computer and add important personal and financial information. You think that your computer is safe.  Now, you learn that a virus can encrypt your computer and demand ransom!

Michael Kan of PCWorld recently wrote an article1 about the “WannaCry Virus.” Here’s part of the May 15, 2017 blog post:

Users of old Windows systems can now download a patch to protect them from this week’s massive ransomware attack. In a rare step, Microsoft published a patch for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 8—all of them operating systems for which it no longer provides mainstream support.

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Users can download and find more information about the patches in Microsoft’s blog post2 about Friday’s attack from the WannaCry ransomware.

The ransomware, which has spread globally3 , has been infecting computers by exploiting a Windows vulnerability involving the Server Message Block protocol, a file-sharing feature.

 Computers infected with WannaCry will have their data encrypted, and display a ransom note demanding $300 or $600 in Bitcoin to free the files.

Fortunately, Windows 10 customers were not targeted in Friday’s attack. In March, Microsoft patched the vulnerability that the ransomware exploits—but only for newer Windows systems. That’s left older Windows machines or those users who failed to patch newer machines, vulnerable to Friday’s attack.

What’s a Bitcoin?

Investopedia states that Bitcoin4 is a digital currency created in 2009. It follows the ideas set out in a white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity has yet to be verified. Bitcoin offers the promise of lower transaction fees than traditional online payment mechanisms and is operated by a decentralized authority, unlike government-issued currencies. Today’s market cap for all bitcoin (abbreviated BTC or, less frequently, XBT) in circulation exceeds $7 billion.

There are no physical bitcoins, only balances kept on a public ledger in the cloud, that – along with all Bitcoin transactions – is verified by a massive amount of computing power. Bitcoins are not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity. Despite its not being legal tender, Bitcoin charts high on popularity, and has triggered the launch of other virtual currencies collectively referred to as Altcoins.

You don't WannaCry over a Computer Virus: Steps to Take

Back up your important computer files.

Paying someone in Bitcoins makes Jay Harold want to laugh out loud!

Ransomware worries? Keep up to date!

Nat Wood5 is the Associate Director, Consumer & Business Education, Federal Trade Commission (FTC). He wrote this blog on May 15, 2017.

You’ve probably heard about the ransomware attack affecting organizations’ computer systems around the world. It seems to affect server software on organizations’ networked computers. But ransomware can attack anybody’s computer, so now is a good time to update your operating system and other software. And then keep them up-to-date.

The ransomware in the news now is known as WannaCry or WannaCrypt. It locks users out of their systems until they pay the crooks who installed it. This ransomware takes advantage of a security hole in Windows server software that can be closed by an update from Microsoft. Many of the organizations affected by the ransomware had not installed the software update.

Even if you only have one computer, download security updates as soon as they’re available – no matter what operating system you use. Hackers are constantly looking for security gaps, and companies try to close those gaps as soon as they are discovered. So it’s important to download updates right away. Most operating systems have a setting to download and install security updates automatically. Use it. And install updates for your other software, including apps.

If you use old software that doesn’t update automatically, set up a regular schedule to go to the company’s website and download and install updates yourself. It’s wise to check at least weekly.

You don't WannaCry over a Computer Virus: Steps to Take.

Think twice before clicking on links or downloading attachments and apps.


In addition to keeping software up to date, here are a couple of other things you can do to prepare for a ransomware attack:

  • Back up your important files. From tax forms to family photos, make it part of your routine to backup files often on your computers and mobile devices. When you’re done, log out of the cloud and unplug external hard drives so hackers can’t encrypt and lock your back-ups, too.
  • Think twice before clicking on links or downloading attachments and apps. Ransomware often is downloaded through phishing emails. You also can get ransomware from visiting a compromised site or through malicious online ads.

What to do when your computer is infected with malware is a very informative video by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This video goes over the steps needed to eliminate malware. The FTC also has information on Privacy and Identity Problems for the consumer. Learn more by visiting the FTC website.

Enjoyed this post? Share it and read more here.  Jay Harold has put together a Resource page that you may find useful when trying to improve your health and wealth. Please take this advice of  Muhammad Ali and give back to others. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” ~ Muhammad Ali



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