Imagine turning on your computer and then you see a screenshot that says it has been locked and except you pay a particular amount, you will not gain access again.
Welcome to the world of one of the most dreaded forms of cyberattacks because it can actually wreak havoc to a single system or network of systems.
According to TrendMicro, Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files until a ransom is paid. More modern ransomware family members, collectively categorised as crypto-ransomware, encrypt certain file types on infected systems and forces users to pay the ransom through certain online payment methods to get a decrypt key.
The WannaCry Ransomware has taken the world by storm and given us a glimpse of what actual cyber warfare would look like.
The folks behind WannaCry simply targeted vulnerabilities found in the windows operating system, wrote a few lines of code, and struck. At the end of the day the worm was able to affect about 230,000 computers in 150 countries including Nigeria.
Any cybersecurity expert or enthusiast will really not be so surprised at the scale of attack because of the sheer number of sophisticated hacking tools available for next to nothing in the dark web.
Personally, I do not pray for evil but from my little experience of Nigeria, we may need to experience some sort of cyberattacks to really awaken us from a deep national slumber.
I have been screaming about the dangers of ransomeware on the ICT Clinic column, Tech Trends TV show, where we now have an online security segment in order to educate Nigerians and of course, on various social media platforms.
Here’s a piece I wrote titled, ‘How to avoid being a victim of ransomware’- www.punchng.com/avoid-victim-ransomware, which was published on the 24th of July 2016. I wonder how many people had come across that piece and taken it seriously.
I commend the fact that the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Isa Ibrahim, quickly issued an advisory to all government ministries, departments, agencies and the general public stating as follows: should your system be infected by ransomware, isolate and remove the system from your network to prevent the threat from further spreading, do not use flash/pen drive, external drives on the system to copy files to other systems, format the system completely and get fresh OS copy installed and finally contact NITDA Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) via +2348023275039 or [email protected] for assistance.
Good online security tips, so let’s hope that this — Finish Reading on the Punch