As predicted more than a year ago, we are seeing another expanded attack of "Ransomware" (the encryption of your data and holding it for ransom). The news reports are full of this, so I will not go over every detail yet again. The basic questions everyone has are:
1. Does it or will it affect me?
Probably not but lets layout the details. This particular malware/virus attacks older Windows XP, Windows Vista and some unpatched Windows 7 installations. It does not appear to attack Windows 8 and Windows 10 systems. So right away, those with newer operating systems can just relax.
2. What do I need to do?
If you are running an older version of Windows, including Windows 7, you need to make sure your computer is fully patched. That means that you need to run and re-run Windows Update until it tells you there are no more updates available. Often times, some updates will not be available for your system until a first or second set of updates has been installed. So, be sure to run Windows Update several times. The Windows update function can be found in the Control Panel.
Do not just rely on the fact that Windows is "supposed" to update itself on its own. If it has errors, it will not inform you unless you are running it manually.
Back in February 2016, I wrote an article about Ransomware and Backups. (see the link below) At the end of that is an important list of what you should be doing so that if your system ever faces one of these attacks, there is a way to recover your data. Yes, doing backups is a pain in the butt - on the other hand losing all your photos, documents and financial info is much worse. Take the time do to it and if you need help let me know. I can help most clients without an in-home visit.
Do not fall victim to all the tech guys running around trying to make money off of this news. The huge number of systems being attacked are systems in hospitals and manufacturing where they are forced to run older Windows XP systems due to software limitations. You do not need to go out and buy more security software or pay a big fee to have a computer guy fix what is not broken.
Run Windows Update manually... Do a backup and disconnect the backup from your computer,.. Go enjoy the day and don't fall victim to all over-hyped tech disaster news.