We've been warning you that ransomware attacks have been getting worse for quite some time now. In May, the nastiest variant ever discovered, dubbed WannaCry, infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide.
Another massive global cyberattack is happening right now. And this one seems to be much worse than WannaCry.
What's the latest global cyberattack?
The latest massive cyberattack started spreading across the globe on Tuesday. It's a ransomware attack being dubbed GoldenEye, which is thought to be a variant of Petya ransomware.
GoldenEye was first discovered in Ukraine, but it has since spread to countries around the world. Companies in the U.S., U.K., France, Norway and Denmark have all been affected. A radiation monitoring system was even affected in Chernobyl. Scary!
The attack has hit Ukraine extremely hard. Its power grid, airport, and national bank have all been compromised. Flight delays are expected because of the attack.
Ukraine's deputy prime minister said on Twitter that, "all computers of the government had fallen victim to the virus." He also posted a picture of his locked computer.
Image: Example of GoldenEye ransomware claiming there is a disk error on a victim's computer. (Source: Twitter)
This ransomware variant is spreading the same way WannaCry did, infecting initial victims' computers with a phishing email. Once one machine is infected with the malware, all other computers on the network are susceptible to the attack.
That's because GoldenEye spreads through the network like a worm, looking for other computers with similar vulnerabilities. Systems with Windows vulnerabilities like the leaked NSA exploit EternalBlue are impacted. There could be more Windows flaws being exploited to spread this attack.
GoldenEye is not only encrypting victims' files but their entire hard drive. Once infected with the malware, a ransom message will appear on your screen.
Image: Example of GoldenEye ransom note. (Source: Twitter)
There's no telling how many people will fall victim to this attack. So far, banks, pharmaceutical companies, advertising firms, grocery stores, power grids, and airports have been targeted by GoldenEye. No one is safe!
How to protect against ransomware
The best way to defeat a ransomware attack is to take precautionary steps. Here are suggestions that will help:
- Back up data regularly - this is the best way to recover your critical data if your computer is infected with ransomware.
- Make sure your backups are secure - do not connect your backups to computers or networks that they are backing up.
- Do NOT enable macros - You should never download PDF, Word or Excel files attached to unsolicited emails to begin with. If you do open one of these documents and it says that you need to turn on macros, close the file and delete it immediately.
- Never open risky links in emails - don't open attachments from unsolicited emails, it could be a phishing scam. Ransomware can infect your gadget through malicious links found in phishing emails. Can you spot one? Take our phishing IQ test to find out.
- Have strong security software - this will help prevent the installation of ransomware on your gadget.
Backing up your critical data is an important safety precaution in the fight against ransomware. It's the best way to recover your files without paying a ransom.
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