On May 15th, UBC ECE professor and cyber security expert Dr. Konstantin Beznosov appeared on Global News to discuss ongoing ransomware attack WannaCry. Although it was detected earlier, WannaCry’s presence ballooned on May 12th, and it has since been found in 150 countries.
“This particular attack is similar to other ransomware, where malware gets in your computer and encrypts data,” Beznosov explained.
“The difference is that this particular attack used two attack vectors, unlike usual ransomware…it used malicious attachments and social engineering attacks to make users click on attachments and automatically run them. And once the attachments are executed, this particular version of ransomware takes control of the computer and spreads it”.
When asked who might be most susceptible to ransomware, Beznosov replied that “those who tend to open attachments without considering whether it is a legitimate attachment or not… and those who don’t keep their computers up to date” are likely at highest risk.
Fortunately, not many Canadian companies have been infected as of this time. However, Beznosov predicts that we will be seeing more incarnations of WannaCry in the future, including some potentially stronger or more aggressive versions. Beznosov believes that we should all be concerned about our own personal data.
He outlines three clear steps that everyone should take in order to lower their chance of becoming infected by ransomware: first and foremost, keep your computer software up to date. Second, be very careful about opening attachments or clicking on links in unsolicited email messages. Finally, back up your data frequently in case your computer does get infected.
For those wondering how to recognize a potentially dangerous attachment, Beznosov’s advice is to err on the side of caution. If you didn’t expect the message, he says, don’t open its attachments. He also recommends being wary of messages that seem to be from a legitimate sender such as your bank, but that have links or attachment within them – it’s always a good idea to avoid opening this content.
For the full video, and for more information on how to stay safe online, click here: http://globalnews.ca/video/3455904/ubc-cyber-security-expert-on-wannacry-ransomware-attack