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Your Bank > News

Ransomware & WannaCry

June 14, 2017

What Is Ransomware? 

Ransomware is a type of malicious software cyber criminals use to deny access to systems or data. The malicious cyber criminal holds systems or data hostage until the ransom is paid. After the initial infection, the ransomware attempts to spread to shared storage drives and other accessible systems. The standard payment for ransomware is anywhere between $300 and $600 to unlock the files on the machine. If the demands are not met, the system or encrypted data remains unavailable, or data may be deleted! 

What is WannaCry Ransomware?

WannaCry Ransomware is a variant or different strain of the virus commonly known as Cryptolocker. WannaCry was released on Friday, May 12, 2017 and was able to cripple an estimated 200,000 computers worldwide within two days. Security Experts say the malware spreads like a worm virus – scanning other computers linked to any machine or system it infects for the same defect and leaping onto them – through a vulnerability in Microsoft systems, particularly on outdated software like Windows XP or Windows Server 2003. All it takes is for one computer to be infected for all of the computers on that network to be compromised. 

How Do I Prevent Myself From Getting Ransomized?

Here are some best practices on protecting yourself from being victimized by Ransomware in general: 

  • Think Before You Click. Visiting unsafe, suspicious or fake websites can lead to the intrusion of malware. Be cautious when opening e-mails or attachments you don’t recognize even if the message comes from someone in your contact list.
  • Always back up your files. By maintaining offline copies of your personal information, ransomware scams will have a limited impact on you. If targeted, you will be less inclined to take heed to threats posed by cyber criminals. 
  • Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available. 
  • Enable popup blockers. To prevent popups, turn on popup blockers to avert unwanted ads, popups or browser malware from constantly appearing on your computer screen.

Thinking of Paying the Ransom? Consider These Risks:

We do not encourage paying a ransom. We understand that when businesses are faced with an inability to function, executives will evaluate all options to protect their shareholders, employees, and customers. As you contemplate this choice, consider the following: 

  • Paying a ransom does not guarantee an organization will regain access to their data; in fact, some individuals or organizations were never provided with decryption keys after having paid a ransom. 
  • Some victims who paid the demand have reported being targeted again by cyber criminals. 
  • After paying the originally demanded ransom, some victims have been asked to pay more to get the promised decryption key. 
  • Paying could inadvertently encourage this criminal business model.

Looking for more information on cyber security tips and hints? Visit our Security Center!