Less than two months after the massive WannaCry attack, a second ransomware worm named “Petya” started wreaking havoc on June 27. Here is what you need to know:
- It’s ransomware: Ransomware is a type of computer virus that holds your computer, and its data ransom until you pay the creators of the virus to unlock your files. Or, rephrased: it will make your computer totally unusable, and you will lose all your files if you don’t pay the ransom.
- It’s back from the past. It was first detected in 2016. It was re-purposed and is now back with a vengeance.
- It’s inspired by WannaCry. Initial reports suggest that it uses the same Eternalblue exploit, targeting a flaw in Windows legacy systems. This means it can easily spread to your computer via phishing emails.
- It wants your money. The ransom is $300, paid in Bitcoin, the same ransom as WannaCry.
How to protect yourself
- Your first line of defense is updating your computer: Microsoft launched a patch fixing the Eternalblue exploit in April 2017 and initial reports suggest it should be enough to keep Petya at bay. Your computer should be fine if you are getting automatic updates. If you have skipped an automatic update recently, do one now. Here’s how.
- Beware of phishing emails. Like WannaCry, Petya can spread through corporate networks automatically. But it needs an initial point of entry, which can often be an infected file sent in a seemingly safe email. Learn more about phishing emails.
- Backup your files. No need to pay a ransom to recover your files if you have them somewhere else. The best protection is running regular backups that will sit in a datacenter somewhere in the cloud, but an external hard drive will also keep you covered. We’ve partnered with SOS Online Backup to get a special online backup discount that is only available to FixMeStick customers. Buy now!
- Use antivirus software: It may sound a little technical, but ransomware is generally downloaded via an initial infection carried out by a trojan. In some circumstances, an antivirus can detect these trojans before they can transform into ransomware and encrypt your files. FixMeStick also offers a 70% discount on McAfee, one of the best rated antivirus software. Try it today!
- Scan your computer with an external device at least once a month. Some infections can get past the best antivirus software and you need an external device like the FixMeStick to find and remove them before they turn into ransomware. With FixMeStick, all you do is plug the USB virus cleaner into your computer, and our proprietary technology does the rest, ensuring your computer runs clean and fast. Learn more about the FixMeStick.
It may look like preventing a ransomware infection is complicated, but it’s actually quite simple! Take some time to get yourself set up and you should be well protected for years to come.