In light of the recent event of the WannaCry ransomware (also known as WannaCrypt), there’s been a lot of chaos regarding cyber-security and integrity. In layman’s terms, ransomware is a kind of malicious software which is intentionally designed to extort money from individuals or sometimes even businesses. WannaCry is one of the freshest cyber-criminal activities, the world has recently witnessed. Cyber-security has henceforth become a mandatory self-defense mechanism in this digital era. Here are some ways that could potentially help you avoid future malicious attacks.
Turn on Automatic Windows Updates
Although this feature is enabled by default, some people and even businesses prefer turning it off without realising the level of risk they are exposing themselves to. This is usually done because automatic Windows Updates could get really annoying. The latest update by Windows was rolled out just weeks before the WannaCry attack and it patched a vulnerable entry point that the ransomware was supposed to primarily exploit in order to deploy its malicious software.
Avoid Opening Attachments Or Files Blindly
Immense care should be taken before opening any kind of file on your work or home computer; especially if it’s an executable file. Make sure your permission is taken before your computer runs any executable or installer as it lets you verify the package source. You can then check for the publisher’s reputation if you’re not sure of its legitimacy.
To take an extra step of security, you can try and match the MD5 checksum provided with the output of any MD5 checksum utility for the same file. If they don’t match, the file is either corrupt or was tampered and could even potentially harm your computer.
Anti-Virus And Anti-Malware Wombo-Combo
Even after witnessing so many virus infections, malware attacks and what not, people nowadays are least bothered or are unaware of ways that will help protect their data. If you are one of them and have no clue about the essential security your computer deserves, now is the time to grab a copy of Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware. Norton is one those companies which aim at providing unmatched protection for all types of devices at affordable prices including personal computers, smartphones etc. across all popular platforms.
Malwarebytes is the king when it comes to protecting your device from all types of malware attacks. You could grab your free copy from their website and start protecting yourself today, but it lacks the real-time scanning feature that the premium version provides.
Keep The TCP Port 445 Closed
There’s a good chance if you are from a non-IT background, the last heading just got you all confused and bewildered. The concept is pretty simple; there are two types of networking ports, TCP and UDP. Whereas UDP is like using the conventional method of mailing something to a person without really receiving any sort of acknowledgment, TCP is a little bit different. It requires that part of acknowledgment before establishing any communication.
The ransomware is known to exploit the TCP port 445 after it has gained the desired access to your computer. Blocking this port instead will prevent the malicious software from functioning.
Update To The Latest Version Of Windows
According to a survey, about 52% of the market still uses Windows 7, whereas Windows 10 is seen to be used by only a little less than 13% of the market. This is really concerning as people fail to understand the importance of updating to the latest version of windows. Updating to the latest version not only improves your operating system aesthetically, but it patches most of the exploits and fixes most of the problems the older versions were known to have. It also adds flexibility and the supports all the latest software, unlike older variants.
Take Data Backup Of Important Files
Despite the fact this one might not sound as a measure to actually avoid the attack, this step could be handy in scenarios where you might be a victim already. Taking a remote or local backup of your data on a daily or weekly basis could be your last ray of hope in a crisis. You can thereafter stay relaxed and basically avoid any aftermath of an unprecedented attack.
Dropbox and Google Drive are some of the most popular cloud storage options out there that would let you backup remotely. Both services provide free storage for a lifetime but with limited options, but also let you expand for a premium fee. If cloud storage doesn’t float your boat, you could opt for local backup techniques that save all of your data on any type of removable storage. Purchase a portable 1TB hard drive from Amazon and you’re few clicks away from taking a backup.
These are some of the methods and measures that you should take as soon as possible if you haven’t already, in order to avoid your computer resources and data from falling into the wrong hands.