Here’s One Easy Way to Protect Yourself From That Massive Ransomware Attack

Ransomware attack
A screenshot of the warning screen from a purported ransomware attack, as captured by a computer user in Taiwan on May 13, 2017. Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo

History’s largest cyberattack is working its way around the world, and it’s looking for you.

The ransomware virus “WannaCry” spread across much of Asia and the United Kingdom over the weekend.

But before you assume only tech novices and the clueless click on links that allow viruses to infiltrate your computer, be warned: you don’t need to make such a mistake to be victim of this ransomware.

“There’s no user interaction required. You just have to have a vulnerable system and it’s gonna find you,” Adam Kujawa, director of malware intelligence for Malwarebytes, told CNN in an interview.

How WannaCry Ransomware Targets You

This attack doesn’t care who you are — it only cares how old your Windows system is. WannaCry freezes your computer, inserts a pop-up to alert you your files have been encrypted and demands a payment of $300 to $600 via bitcoin before it vaporizes all your data, NBC News explains.  

For the British government’s National Health Service, that means computers hit by the ransomware caused thousands of canceled appointments and operations, NBC News reported.

Major corporations like FedEx have also been affected by the attack.

How to Fight Back Against Ransomware Attacks

First and foremost, make sure your Windows software is up to date.

NBC News notes that Microsoft recently released a patch to protect Windows computers, but many large corporations may not have ensured its employees installed the patch on their workstations.

If you back up your data with an external hard drive or cloud service, now would be a great time to do so.

Meanwhile, CNN reports the malware is still spreading. Better call mom and dad — and your best friend, and your boss and everyone, please — and make sure they installed the latest security update.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

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