How to protect yourself from a ransomware attack

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 05:36PM
What's the Deal: Protecting yourself from ransomware. Nydia Han reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on May 16, 2017.


PHILADELPHIA - The ransomware attack has infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries since Friday.

Officials say victims have paid about $70,000 dollars in ransom.

The bad news is authorities warn another attack is likely. But there's good news - protecting yourself is simple and relatively easy to do. Our experts say you just have to do it.

It's the attack heard around the world. Auto plants, offices, railroads and FedEx in the US were all hit.

The most devastating: hospitals in Great Britain where ambulances were turned away, cancer treatments and surgeries cancelled.

First Google Docs was hit, now Microsoft - but why?

22-year-old researcher helped thwart cyberattack


"Count on Microsoft, Google, popular brands like Yahoo, Paypal for example, always being targeted by these types of scams. Why? Because they have a large potential user base," said Rob D'Ovidio from Drexel University.

A large user base means the likelihood of more victims.

"This increases their success rate," said D'Ovidio.

In the case of ransomware, in which hackers block access to your data until you pay a ransom, prevention is the key.

"Best way to deal with that is to make sure you back up your computer on a regular basis," said D'Ovidio.

It's best to back up your data on a hard drive that isn't connected to the Internet. That way if you fall victim, you still have access to your files.

When it comes to phishing scams, be aware.

100,000 groups in 150 nations hit by cyberattack


"Be cognizant of the to, the from, and any ccs that addresses. If you don't know who the person is sending you an email asking you to open up a file, asking you to click on a link, don't do it," said D'Ovidio.

Also update your computer's security settings and software regularly - and every time you're prompted. If you use Windows, consider antivirus tools from Bitdefender or Malwarebytes.

Also, find service providers with strong blocking filters and be particularly wary of compressed or ZIP file attachments.

"If you think you've fallen victim to something like this the first thing you want to do is change your password," said D'Ovidio.

I know, personally, constantly updating your password can be a headache but it is really the simplest thing you can do to help protect yourself.

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