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Top 5 security lessons ransomware teaches us the hard way

Top 5 security lessons ransomware teaches us the hard way
© Antonio Guillem | Dreamstime.com

If you're a regular Kim Komando Show listener or Komando.com reader, you know that Kim has been warning you about online security dangers for years. Her warnings aren't for frivolous annoyances.

They are real dangers. There are ransomware attacks, for instance, where hackers threaten to erase everything on your computer unless you pay them. Or they threaten to blackmail you with compromising information, photos or videos.

Those real-life dangers became all too clear in the past few weeks when the WannaCry attack affected the lives of millions of people in 150 countries. It's thought that more than 200,000 computers have been affected so far. That means hackers locked up computers, so hospitals, banks, financial companies and more could not access your information.

Hospital computer systems in the U.K. were shut down for hours. Worse, many life-saving medical apparatuses that run on Windows also shut down. WannaCry has caused $8 billion in damage and counting.

You may have heard that a cybersecurity researcher accidentally found a kill switch to turn off WannaCry. He did, but hackers have since found ways to work around that. In other words, WannaCry is still a very real threat.

Keep reading for five things you must do now to protect yourself from WannaCry. But, first, a brief overview of WannaCry.

It's a ransomware attack. Hackers encrypt your computer, which means they scramble your data and make it almost impossible to unlock. The WannaCry ransomware was a vulnerability that the U.S. National Security Agency discovered. Hackers released that information online.

Typically with ransomware, hackers demand money. If you don't pay it, they'll increase the amount you need to pay.

Note: The FBI has warned people not to pay ransom to hackers. If you do, they may not unlock your computer and they may just end up demanding more money.

Next page: Simple steps to protect yourself
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