Cyber world – What the Muggle-techs should know


The whole world woke up to a shock when the recent cyber attack called “WannaCry ransomware(worm)” infected at least 150 countries bringing down organisations like FedEx – US, NHS – UK, German national railway – Deutsche Bahn and Renault automobile plant in France.

There were so many articles released and was available regarding this scary little thing. But how far did the non-technical folks understood the impact and the recovery from it? This article is for them.

The ransomware is called so for its nature, spreads via emails/ download links and infects a system; it encrypts and locks files on a computer and demands to pay a ransom to decrypt and unlock them or deleting the files otherwise. This particular one demanded 300$ up-to 500$ in bitcoins and the source on how it all started has not been identified yet.

This particular ransomware infected millions of machines because the systems were not updated. Windows machines were said to have been open to an exploit two months before and Microsoft released a patch update and all systems should have been updated. Fortunately Windows 10 is not one among them. Attacks had targeted this exploit few days back to infect machines all over the world that hasn’t been updated. China was hit particularly hard because of using pirated software in that country and it also believed there are many machines in India doing the same.
With cyber attacks being planned and targeting various organizations everyday, it is advisable for the public to be aware of how to protect themselves from this alien-world.

Here are few steps on how to deal and protect your system from this ransomware; provided by the “The Hacker News” a famous Computer Security Blog:

  1. Always Install security updates on your machine
  2. Patch your system this vulnerability – Click here
  3. Disable SMB – This is  how your machines are remotely attacked and infected. Here are the steps to disable it.
    1. Go to Windows’ Control Panel and open ‘Programs.’
    2. Open ‘Features’ under Programs and click ‘Turn Windows Features on and off.’
    3. Now, scroll down to find ‘SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support’ and uncheck it.
    4. Then click OK, close the control Panel and restart the computer.
  4. Use an Antivirus program
  5. Exercise caution while opening suspicious emails and visiting malicious websites.
  6. Backup your files regularly.; this way if the ransomware infects you, you don’t lose the files.
  7. Make yourself aware of what’s happening in the cyber world which helps prevention against cyber attacks.

It is hard even for the people in the cyber world to keep their data safe and secure; it is even harder for the people who has no idea about this world. As a citizen of the cyber world, it’s our job to spread awareness whenever possible and help the ones who need.
Here are the common security measures that everyone should adhere:
  1. Make sure your passwords are a combinations of Lower case, Upper case, Number and any special character and a minimum of 8 letters. It should also not contain any common words.
  2. Do not repeat or use the same password for everything.
  3. Do not share your passwords.
  4. Do not click on the links that looks suspicious.
  5. Do not respond to emails asking for your passwords, PIN or any personal identity related information over emails.   
  6. Set up two step authentication where-ever possible.
  7. Do not share personal information on social media.
  8. Keep your systems and softwares up-to-date (including your mobile devices). 

Its always better to be safe than sorry.

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