Ransomware: it's a term that has forced its way into our consciousness in recent months as corporations around the world scramble to protect themselves against hackers who hijack their computers and destroy their data unless they pay a ransom.
"What's really damaging with this variation of ransomware (WannaCry) is that it not only affects your computer, but it reaches out to anything on your subnet," noted John Shoff, owner of Reality Bytes in Drumheller. "Any computers inside your network, any server computers that might be inside your business network, essentially anything your computer's attached to."
It's been estimated that cyberware attacks cost businesses around the world up to $75 billion each year.
"One option that you can do is use something like Microsoft OneDrive to share your files," suggested Shoff. "If you put that on your OneDrive location and then share that location, and that's the way you always do it, if you're getting an email from me with an actual file attachment it's probably not legitimate."
Most home computers will not be affected, especially those with Windows 10 operating system, which is apparently immune to the latest ransomware.
"I can't possibly explain how important it is to install your security updates; they need to be installed every day," said Shoff. "Set it to be automated or have a proper patch management system in place for your business: if they're patched they wouldn't be hit by this. It's just the fact that a lot of big businesses don't bother patching their systems and then something like this happens."