Here is all you need to know about ‘WannaCry’, the malicious ransomware behind Friday’s worldwide hacking attack and ways to keep your system and data intact from the ransomware gigantic hacking assault, which has influenced a huge number of PCs around 100 countries!

Programming security organizations said “WannaCry” has infected about 57,000 PC frameworks in around 100 nations on Friday including Russia, Ukraine, and Taiwan being the top targets. Although the spreading of the ransomware was constrained by a British researcher using a kill switch, there are still potential chances of getting your system infected. And since the malware targets the system running under Microsoft’s Windows OS, Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center suggests the following steps to protect your system from WannaCry:

  • Install and enable up-to-date antivirus software like Microsoft Security Fundamental
  • Use updated softwares
  • Ensure you have smart screen (in Internet Explorer) turned on, which helps identify reported phishing and malware websites and helps you make informed decisions about downloads
  • Have a pop-up blocker running on your web browser
  • Regularly backup your important files
  • Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments or emails from people you don’t know or companies you don’t do business with

Now, if you are still reading this, odds are that you or someone you know is the victim of a ransomware attack. So before what you should do about it, more importantly here is what you shouldn’t do (yeah it is one confusing sentence, read it again if you have to) – DO NOT PAY THE RANSOM; I cannot emphasis this enough.

Remember that you are dealing with criminals and you cannot trust them! There’s no doubt in that and hence there is no guarantee that you’ll actually get all your files back. Even if you do, you’re only helping ransomware to continue to be a problem by rewarding the criminals. So go ahead and turn off your computer as soon as you can and disconnect it from any kind of network. By doing this, you have a chance of stopping the attack before it is complete.

Next you can check for the latest backup which can be used to restore your data. This is why it is always suggested to keep backups at regular intervals! And the data lost is almost impossible to recover because malicious software itself can be removed but getting your data back is a whole different story. Because they have used advanced cryptography, recovering files is pretty much impossible without the necessary key to decrypt them.

Again, please do not pay the ransom because it is very risky. WannaCry attackers of Shadow Broker group require you to pay using Bitcoinover the Tor network, which is software used to make web browsing anonymous. This means that tracing the thieves is nearly impossible and if they decide not to unlock your computer you are pretty much out of luck and money. And even if the hackers do give you the keys to unlock your encrypted files, there is always a chance they can lock your computer again in the future to demand more payment.  So be safe and do not panic.