Beware, WannaCry cyber attack may just be the beginning

In fact, a victim of a previous Ransomware attack told us that the hackers kept asking for more money once he paid, until he eventually stopped and lost all of his data and also cash.

Ransomware is a kind of malicious software that, as its name implies, takes a computer hostage and holds it for ransom.

Lots of users, particularly those who are overseas, don't use automatic updates and leave their systems vulnerable, he said.

The WannaCry infections were so bad that Microsoft, in a surprising move, released a patch to update old, unsupported Windows systems.

The ransomware, called WannaCry, targeted businesses running outdated Windows machines.

By now, many netizens of the world have heard of the notorious WannaCry virus.

WannaCry seems to have attacked computers in Russian Federation first, after which the ransomware quickly spread to as much as 150 + countries and affected Microsoft computers.

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The lack of response from governments and security agencies has also not helped, especially in comparison to the involvement of private security companies and individuals trying to battle the attack as it unfolded.

Over the weekend, Europol officials said that some 200,000 computers have been hit by the malware. But for many companies, this is the tip of the iceberg as it can be costly for a company in terms of reputation as customers could start seeing them as untrustworthy. In reality, doing that may be more hard than it sounds, either because of corporate cultures that don't prioritize security or because of a lack of funding to upgrade to the latest and greatest.

Some of those who have paid the WannaCry ransom have regained control of their computers, security researchers say.

They exploited a flawless storm of factors - the Windows hole, the ability to get ransom paid in digital currency, poor security practices - but it's unclear if the payoff, at least so far, was worth the trouble. We'll get to some tips in a minute.

People running older software will often claim that they're clinging to it because they can't afford to buy newer computers, or because now supported operating systems conflict with another piece of software that they're using.

Apple computers appear not to be affected by WannaCry, but that does not mean that Macs or iPhones are immune to malware in general. Recovery from backups is one of them.

Who's behind the WannaCry attack?

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The state-run People's Daily compared the cyber attack to the terrorist hacking depicted in the U.S. film "Die Hard 4", warning that China's role in global trade and internet connectivity opened it to increased risks from overseas.

The good news is that Javelin's software was able to prevent the spread of WannaCry on their customers' computers, right out of the gate, explained Abutbul.

But many users had not installed the patch by the time EternalBlue was dumped on the Internet in April. If you're on more recent versions of Windows but have not kept your system updated with the latest patches, then you are also under threat.

"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", the company said Sunday. Microsoft and many others are blaming the NSA for secretly hoarding knowledge of vulnerabilities, rather than alerting the public and software companies about them.

How can I protect myself?

This includes whitelisting certain websites and software so only approved programs can run on a computer, or disabling administrative privileges on a company's machines so that only the IT department can download programs.

It's easy to say everyone should be vigilant, install every patch released and, preferably, never miss an operating system update. So, they analyze weaknesses in your operating system's code and keep a figurative vault of ways to hack into computers, like how the CDC stores real viruses.

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