If there is a silver lining to the recent Wanna Cry ransomware outbreak, perhaps it is this: heightened security awareness among the sheeple. *sigh*
Here are some general things to do, gleaned from a few articles and my own experiences dealing with other folks’ malware infestations:
- Don’t pay
- don’t click on email attachments*
- Keep your software up to date
- INCLUDING your security softwares!
- Back up your personal files, and make at least one system backup of a stable, clean system.
*See the asterisk above? Yeh, that. Being able to send and receive email attachments is one of the important features of email, so not opening ANY email attachments vitiates the usefulness of email. Not a problem. First, only accept attachments from someone you know. Verify that the email actually did come from that person. At least look at the headers, but if ANY possible question exists about the email’s authenticity, ASK THE PERSON WHO SEEMS TO HAVE SENT IT! And always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS scan email attachments with up-to-date security softwares.
Even if I have done all of these, I have sometimes saved the attachment offline, then opened it in a virtual machine to check. I have actually caught two “baddies” this way, though it’s been years since that time.
Nothing in the short list above is at all difficult to do, and not even really time-consuming either. It’s just common sense, something sorely lacking among many users (which is exactly how <300,000 computers were hit by “Wanna Cry”–users self-infecting).