Microsoft has issued an urgent update for computers running Windows, that people need to install.
You’ll have no doubt have heard about the problems affecting the NHS and many other organisations around the world. To be certain that your computer does not fall prey to this as well be certain to follow the advice below.
If you are running current, fully supported versions of Windows operating system then you should run the windows update process as follows
If you dont know what version of Windows your computer is running, this will help https://www.lifewire.com/what-version-of-windows-do-i-have-2624927
Check For and Install Updates in Windows 10
In Windows 10, Windows Update is found within Settings. First, tap or click on the Start menu, followed by Settings. Once there, choose Update & security, followed by Windows Update on the left. Check for new Windows 10 updates by tapping or clicking on the Check for updates button. In Windows 10, downloading and installing updates is automatic and will happen immediately after checking or, with some updates, at a time when you’re not using your computer.
Check For and Install Updates in Windows 8, 7 and Vista
In Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista, the best way to access Windows Update is via the Control Panel. In these versions of Windows, Windows Update is included as an applet in Control Panel, complete with configuration options, update history, and lots more. Just open Control Panel and then choose Windows Update. Tap or click Check for updates to check for new, uninstalled updates. Installation sometimes happens automatically or may need to be done by you via the Install updates button, depending on what version of Windows you’re using and how you have Windows Update configured.
Older versions of Windows
If you are running an older, unsupported versions of Windows, Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003 follow the link below and you will be able to find the update Microsoft has made available, as a one-off, due to the global scale of this attack.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a particularly nasty type of malware that blocks access to a computer or its data and demands money to release it.
How does it work?
When a computer is infected, the ransomware typically contacts a central server for the information it needs to activate, and then begins encrypting files on the infected computer with that information. Once all the files are encrypted, it posts a message asking for payment to decrypt the files – and threatens to destroy the information if it doesn’t get paid, often with a timer attached to ramp up the pressure.
How does it spread?
Most ransomware is spread hidden within Word documents, PDFs and other files normally sent via email, or through a secondary infection on computers already affected by viruses that offer a back door for further attacks.
Will paying the ransom really unlock the files?
Sometimes paying the ransom will work, but sometimes it won’t. For the Cryptolocker ransomware that hit a few years ago, some users reported that they really did get their data back after paying the ransom, which was typically around £300. But there’s no guarantee paying will work, because cybercriminals aren’t exactly the most trustworthy group of people.
There are also a collection of viruses that go out of their way to look like ransomware such as Cryptolocker, but which won’t hand back the data if victims pay. Plus, there’s the ethical issue: paying the ransom funds more crime.
What else can I do?
Once ransomware has encrypted your files there’s not a lot you can do. If you have a backup of the files you should be able to restore them after cleaning the computer, but if not your files could be gone for good.
Some badly designed ransomware, however, has been itself hacked by security researchers, allowing recovery of data. But such situations are rare, and tend not to apply in the case of widescale professional hits like the WanaCrypt0r attack.