WANNACRY RANSOMWARES? 17 TIPS (A-Z) TO PREVENT VIRUSES / MALWARES / “WANNACRY RANSOMWARES” IN COMPUTERS AND SMARTPHONES

WANNACRY RANSOMWARES? 17 TIPS (A-Z) TO PREVENT VIRUSES / MALWARES / “WANNACRY RANSOMWARES” IN COMPUTERS AND SMARTPHONES

Internet is like another virtual planet in this universe!  Most of the people have started to live in both the gross planet earth as well as subtle and virtual planet internet. Therefore, like the threats on earth, there are serious threats through internet also all the time.

Internet has many faces. One can become a scholar in his chosen field by using the internet properly. At the same time, he can make his life miserable by subscribing to the threats spread through the internet.

Anyone can play through internet. He can even bring your computer or smartphone under his control through certain programs spread through internet.

This is called INTELLECTUAL WAR or VIRTUAL WAR.

Here, there are no weapons, guns, etc. Everything is done through some malicious programs only.

WHAT ARE VIRUSES, MALWARES, WORMS, TROJANS, ETC?

Though All these terms are malicious softwares, each has different way of functioning. Let us briefly see them:

(1) VIRUSES / MALWARES:

(i) Virus and Malware are the same and are the generalized generic names used for all malicious softwares.

(ii) Once they enter into your system, they make exact copies of themselves (Replication) and spread in your system.

(iii) These viruses or malwares multiply after getting attached to a file (called host file) in the Operating system like Windows. In other words, they first get a home (host file) to live and spread their wings all over the system.

(iv) Since these viruses need a host file to sit, they spread all over whenever the host file is transferred from media to media through copy-paste mode using CDs, DVDs, Pen drives memory card, etc.

(2) WORMS:

(i) Worms do not need any host file to reside and hence they do not catch any files as hosts in your system. Instead, it silently runs in the background and performs its desired actions.

(ii) They also multiply themselves and act independently without any hold. This is the difference between a malware and worm.

(iii) They spread everywhere independently without any host files.

(3) TROJANS:

(i) A Trojan does not multiply (replication) like malwares or worms. Instead, it acts as a REMOTE BACKGROUND BASE STATION in the background in our system.

(ii) This REMOTE BACKGROUND BASE STATION within our computer is connected to the person who sent the Trojan to our system through hacking.

(iii) In other words, that person is controlling our system through this REMOTE BACKGROUND BASE STATION.

(iv) They can not spread independently without the direction of the person who sent it.

(iv) What that person can do by installing this REMOTE BACKGROUND BASE STATION in our system?

(a) He can do anything in our computer from his place itself.  He can add new files to our computer from his place through this Trojan station.

(b) He can delete files in our computer through this station.

(c) He can show new messages in our computer.

(d) He can even shutdown the computer and reboot it from his own place.

(e) This can be compared to the International Space Station in the space.  Though it is the station and there are scientists inside, it is totally controlled by the scientists in the base station on earth like NASA.

TYPES OF MALWARES BASED ON ACTIONS:

(1) SPYWARES:

As the name itself suggests, the spywares are acting as the spies of the person who sent it to your system. Some soft spywares just watch what web pages you visit and report to the boss.  Some hard spywares silently monitors whatever you do in your system and report to the boss.

(2) ROGUE  VIRUSES:

As the name suggests, they appear like a good software, but, actually are malicious.  When you visit some malicious sites, they will show you a message in the screen like “Your system has viruses.  Scan it for free and get rid of the viruses”.

This will scare you.  Since they look like legitimate, you too agree for scan. That’s all.  Finished.  Your computer comes under their control.

Or, they may show alarming number of viruses as if existing in your system and hence demand money to remove the viruses.

(3) ROOTKITS or BOOTKITS:

As the name suggests, these malwares go to the roots or hidden parts of your operating system to make it difficult to find them out.  Usual antivirus scans can not find out these rootkits.

(4) BOTNETS:

They are usually harmless if they just reside in your system and they do not do anything.  But, they can be used by others like some criminals occupying an abandoned house.  The cyber criminals can trace these bots and use them to control your computer through the malwares.  What is the advantage in using the bots instead of attacking directly like Trojans? By using bots, no one can trace the person who is controlling our computer since everything is done through bots.

(5) ADWARES:

They are meant to show advertisements to you through your system or smartphone and are not seriously harmful.  However,  they may be felt as unwanted addition to our system like an uncalled guest.  They too can track your activities and send details to the boss.  They are usually delivered to your system along with any software when you download it. The main software maker would have printed in their terms and conditions that the software comes with adwares.  Since most of the users do not read the terms and conditions, but, just click AGREE, they are supplied along with the adwares.

(6) RANSOMWARES:

This is the latest technique followed by the cyber criminals to earn money deceptively.  They send some viruses to your system or smartphone through many roots such as as attachments in mails, during downloads, through auto downloads, etc.

Once these ransomwares enter into your computer, it comes under the control of the cyber criminals. These malwares encrypt all the files in your system or some important files.

Because of this encryption, you can not do anything in your computer and you can just see a message in the screen that all your files have been encrypted and you need to pay a certain amount as BIT COINS (A form of digital currency, mostly unapproved by the governments) or through any other mode, to get the encryption released.  Once you pay the money, they give you a password and you can release the encryption using that password.

TWO TYPES OF RANSOMWARES:

(i) LOCKER RANSOMWARES:

They make your computer unusable completely.

(ii) CRYPTO RANSOMWARES:

They just make us unable to use the files we created earlier.

The main purpose of sending these Ransomwares is getting money from you.  They usually do not do anything else.   Their motto is “PAY AND USE or LOSE EVERYTHING”.  However, in most cases, they did not fulfill their assurance of giving password after getting money from some users.  They paid 300 dollars but as assured, they did not give the password.  Now, they have lost both the data in their computers and money.

THREAT OF YEAR 2017:  “WANNACRY” RANSOMWARES:

This name WANNACRY  means “Want to cry?”.  It is sure that this ransomware makes you cry.  He can not come out of infection unless he pays and releases it from them.

This ransomware enetrs into our system through many sources as described later in this post and encrypt the data we have in our system. This makes the data unusable by the users unless the password is given by the attackers to release the encryotion.

This malware started affecting the computers  FROM May 2017 all over the world.  USA, Russsia, EU, Australia, etc were affected first.  In India, it first affected Delhi, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, etc. The Microsoft released a patch update that fixed a loophole that may be vulnerable for attack by the attackers.  Many antivirus providers too released some updates that patched the loopholes in their programs.

Those who updated their systems with those updates escaped from the attack initially.  Those who neglected updates, became vulnerable.

This relief did not last for long.  The creators of these WANNACRY ransomwares released their five updates for their malware  programs.

They had given the name WANNACRY for their first version 1.0.  They gave the following names for their further updates:  2.1 – my doom,  2.2-bad trans, 2.3 – so big, 2.4-net sky, 2.5-uiwix.

Many popular organisations have been affected by this WANNACRY Ransomware in May 2017.  Even the ticketing networks of Tirumala Tirupati Temple too were affected by this malware.

If your computer has been affected by WANNACRY ransomware, the screen looks in full red colour with the message saying that all your data have been encrypted and are safe with them and if you pay 300 dollars within 7 days as bit coins, you can recover all your data.

The experts advise that you need not pay them any money because there are chances for losing the money too along with the data.

HOW YOUR SYSTEM IS AFFECTED BY THESE MALWARES ?

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER & SMARTPHONE FROM “VIRUSES & MALWARES” LIKE “WANNACRY RANSOMWARES”?

(1) OPEN MAILS FROM CONTACTS:

The first culprit is your email inbox including spam mails.  Always open the mails that have come from trusted sources.  It is better to open the mails from your CONTACTS . If you find any email address reliable and you will have to receive mails in future, add them in contacts.

(2) DO NOT OPEN SUSPICIOUS MAILS:

If you open any mail from suspicious mails that look like genuine, and click the attachment to open or download, there are chances that those attached files may have malwares.  Do not open mails with promotional materials unless it is from a genuine and well known source.  For example, if you receive a mail from Citibank, ensure that the address is the same that had been mentioned in the website of CItibank.  If the mail is not the same, do not open it.

(3) BE CAREFUL IN ATTACHMENTS:

Particularly, the attachments with .exe,  must be avoided.  There are some emails that can affect your system even if you do not download it, but, just preview it in the email client’s preview panel itself .  Therefore, do not open any mail received from unknown sources.

(4) DECEPTIVE E-MAIL ADDRESSES:

Some mails may have the address similar to the original address of popular organisations, banks, insurance companies, etc.  You may trust them as original address .  They will use this trust in two ways:

(i) They may ask your credit card or debit card details, passwords, netbanking passwords, etc.  If you give it, they will loot your money from your account immediately.

(ii) Since they look like genuine email addresses, you may download or open the attachments.  They will bring your computer under their control by sending malwares of different kinds.

(5) OUTDATED O.S: 

The most affected Operating systems are Windows Xp, 7 and 8.  Therefore, if you are using Windows Xp and 7, upgrade them to Windows 10.

(6) AUTOMATICALLY UPDATE EVERYTHING:

Always keep the automatic updates ON for WINDOWS UPDATE,  ANTIVIRUS PROGRAMS UPDATES AND BROWSER UPDATES. Never miss any update because every day, thousands of new malwares are released for circulation.

(7) AVOID INTERNET CENTERS:

Do not use Pen drives in internet centers and do not use the same pen drive in your computer.  Do not download and copy anything from internet centers. If there is a file with the extension .exe in pen drives, format that pen drive and do not use them in

(8) VISIT ONLY RELIABLE SITES:

Visit only the necessary, popular and reliable websites.  More unwanted surfing, more exposure of your privacy. More chances for surfing doubtful websites. More vulnerability.

(9) BE CAREFUL IN LAN:

If your computer is in Local Area Network (LAN) , you must be very careful because even if a single system is infected by malwares, all systems may also get affected.  Always check your computer for viruses.

(10) AVOID ADULT SITES:

Like e-mails, the next popular source for the malwares to enter into your system is SURFING ADULT PORN WEBSITES. Though there are some such websites that do not spread viruses,  the number of malicious adult websites is the majority.  Even if you just surf them without downloading anything, they can send malwares to your system.  Therefore, even just surfing such adult sites is risky.  And downloading anything from them will be double risky.  My sincere advice is NOT TO GO TO ADULT WEBSITES AT ALL.  KEEEP YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS CLEAN.  BE SATISFIED WITH YOUR SPOUSE. THERE IS NOTHING MORE THAN THAT IN ANY MEDIA.

(11) USE ORIGINAL SOFTWARES:

Use only the authorized original softwares from the manufacturers.  There are many websites that appear in search engines that you can download an original software from their site for a cost or free of cost.  Never do that.  They may add malicious malwares and spoil your system by bringing it under their control.

(12) FREE SOFTWARES:

There are certain websites that are meant only for downloading of softwares.  They may send the softwares to your system along with some adwares also.  Though many adwares are not malicious, they too involve in spying in some cases.  Therefore, always download from the website of the software maker directly.  Never use free softwares unless they are offered from a popular well reputed company.  For example, if you like to download AVG, you can directly go to their website.

(13) BACK UPS:

The best practice is to back up the daily used files in a pen drive every day after finishing all your system related works. In case your system gets affected the next day by ransomwares or any malwares, you can format the system and update your system using the files copied from system in your pen drive the previous day.

(14) SOCIAL NETWORKS:

Do not open suspicious links posted in social networks or in any website.

(15) MOST IMPORTANT:

There are many free antivirus programs in the market.  Though they give basic protection, I have found a drawback in the Free versions.  Free versions do not effectively prevent the entry of malwares into your system.  They catch the malwares mostly when scanning the system.  But, if you like to protect your system by having real time monitoring to prevent even the entry of malwares into your system, there are some paid versions of antivirus programs that offers REAL TIME PROTECTION and hence the viruses/ malwares are blocked from entering into your system.

Therefore, if you care the protection of your system effectively you may go for AVAST INTERNET SECURITY  or AVG INTERNET SECURITY that cost very less.  They offer real time protection.  NORTON is a powerful program that you can try.

Just visit the STORE Page of this site and go to AMAZON and type “antivirus and antimalware” in the SEARCH BOX given in the top of the  AMAZON site to get the list and price of various Anti Virus programs and Anti malware programs to purchase an antivirus program for your system or mobile.

(17) BE CAREFUL WITH MOBILE APPS:

There are plenty of apps in the app store.  Many come with ads and a part of them come with vulnerability for viruses/ malwares.  Therefore, instal only the apps from reliable sources.  Read the reviews and rankings before downloading the apps. If even 2-3 persons had said that the said app contains vulnerabilities do not download it.

NOTE:

All the tips given above for computers are equally applicable for smartphones also.  Therefore take the same care recommended above.  The WANNACRY Ransomware makers has said that their next target is smartphones.  Therefore smartphone users please be careful in this matter.

Hope his article has helped you to understand the issue better.  If you have any further suggestions write in comments. I will update this post accordingly.

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