Experts explain massive global cyberattack and how to protect yo

Experts explain massive global cyberattack and how to protect yourself

At a time when cybersecurity fears are heightened, the aptly monikered "WANNACRY" virus is causing apprehension around the globe.
The malware continuing to spread to vulnerable computer systems over the weekend, although the infections did taper off Monday.

The IT Department at First Bank & Trust, committed to maintaining the highest level of cybersecurity and protection. Banks and other businesses are susceptible to viruses like  the "WANNACRY" and cybervillans wanting to make a payday. The virus has tried to infiltrate the bank through email a few times this weekend, but the IT Department stopped the attempts.

"It definitely is in our backyard. Obviously, they'll make more money if they hit commercial customers versus consumers. Luckily we did get those blocked and we've taken Microsoft's recommendations to harden our system as well," Stephen Quisenberry, First Bank & Trust SVP/Chief Technology Officer said. 

Sam Segran, Chief Technology Officer for Texas Tech said this outbreak of international ransomware has spread to PCs in more than 150 countries.

"They will infect your system. Then they will encrypt your data on your own computer. And so once they've encrypted it, they'll come back and say 'pay me and I'll go ahead and give you a key to decrypt the data.'"

Segran said while ransomware has been around for years, this particular worm hit hard, but you shouldn't feel threatened.

"This has just been widespread. It's not targeting any particular country or group. This is quite sporadic in the sense as whatever system out there that is not protected, they're going after," Segran said. 

What are the hackers after?  It's called ramsonware for good reason.

"Typically it's not a very destructive virus these days, they just encrypt your files, ask for ransom just for monetary gain," Quisenberry said.

So far, victims have paid tens of thousands of dollars to the unknown cyber thief.

"They're basically going after a low amount, what they're saying is $300. In a couple of hours, if you don't do it, it goes to about $600," Segran said.

If the user doesn't pay within a week, the malware warns it will delete your personal files.

"All agencies are recommending not to pay the ransom because it's not a guarantee you'll even get your data back," Quisenberry said.

President Trump has ordered federal agencies to strengthen their cybersecurity, with a promise to respond strongly to this attack.

"The trend is going in the wrong direction in cyberspace, and it's time to stop that trend and reverse it on behalf of the American people," Tom Bossert, Homeland Security Advisor said.

"The information sharing between all the sectors is helping a lot. The government has actually helped that along, passing executive orders that allow us to share that information," Quisenberry said.

However, Segran said there's no one law that can fix the problems in cyberspace worldwide.

"Law enforcement groups have to work across the nation's borders with other countries, and that gets harder at that point."

The number one way this virus is spreading through non-updated Microsoft software is through email. First Bank & Trust's IT Department receives around 2 million emails monthly.

"Of that, currently about five percent are clean. So we're blocking 1.3 million bad emails a month. We do spend millions of dollars a year on security. We have lots of layers in place. There is no system that's 100 percent secure," Quisenberry said.

To protect your computer, always install the latest versions of your software.

"Keep your computers updated, don't click on links, don't open attachments that you don't know that they're legitimate attachments," Segran said.

Also, schedule a routine backup to save copies of all your files and always have anti-virus software installed. 

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