As of May 16, at 11 a.m. up to 374,822 computers in 150 countries were brought to a standstill by the WannaCry ransomware virus.

The cyber-attack started May 12. Users were tricked into clicking on an email link, opening an attachment, or clicking on a website link to install the “ransomware” virus.

The virus was then able to encrypt files, making them unusable. The WannaCry virus holds a victim’s files hostage for $300 to be paid via Bitcoin (learn more on DC Forecasts about how perilous viruses can be to cryptocurrency).

Automated Systems, Inc. recommends that no ransom should ever be paid because there is no guarantee that access will be restored.

Additionally, the best prevention of getting hacked is to make it not possible to get hacked. New variants of ransomware viruses for computers and mobiles are being created all the time so it is hard to keep up.

Automated Systems, Inc. always sets up two computer accounts on our customers’ computers: one standard account for users to work on and one administrator account used to install programs. That way no viruses can be installed on the computer because no programs can be installed on a standard account unless they have the administrator password.

This is the best, easiest, and cheapest method if a user does not want to keep windows patches up to date, run an updated anti-virus program, run daily backups, close ports, or learn what to do to keep safe from being hacked.

Of course, Automated Systems, Inc. does recommend everyone have a security prevention plan and can help anyone since each business or individual may have different needs.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.