How do I protect myself from WannaCry and other ransomware?
The first version of WannaCry has already been neutralized through a kill switch. However, it won’t be long before we start seeing variations of it. There is no singular fix for all ransomware, but individual users can protect themselves from potential attacks by installing the latest security updates on their devices.
Microsoft, in particular, has released a new security update on Friday as a result of the WannaCry attack. The company has also released patches for Windows XP and Server 2003, even though those operating systems are no longer officially supported. Installing the patches that Microsoft released in March will also help ward off WannaCry and similar ransomware variants.
“The main defense, really, is keeping systems and software patched,” shares MetroStar Systems Director of Cybersecurity, Clay Calvert. “If your systems can’t be patched for whatever reason, then minimize how other devices on the internet can access your computers.”
If a patch is not possible, an option is to use VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) or VACLs (VLAN Access Control Lists) to prevent potential spreading of the malware among internal workstations.
“Another way to prepare against ransomware is to have regular offline backups,” adds Calvert. “Online backups, such as mapped network drives, are also susceptible to ransomware.”
While basic precautionary measures such as backing up your data will help, the surest way to protect your device is to refrain from opening suspicious emails, links, websites, and attachments. Interaction with users, internet files, and apps is clearly inevitable in this age, but the risk of a ransomware attack can be avoided with extra caution, vigilance, and effective cybersecurity consultation.