Local security experts weighs in on worldwide cyber attack

(WRIC) — Ransomware known as “WannaCry” was unleashed on Friday and exploited vulnerabilities in outdated versions of Microsoft Windows. Hackers then demand hundreds of dollars in ransom saying the files would be destroyed unless the money was paid.

On Monday, cyber security experts were telling everyone not to give in to those demands.

“There’s no guarantee that when you pay the money that your files will then be decrypted,” said cyber security expert Patrick Siewert.

Siewert says if you’ve been hit by the virus, it’s most likely too late to save your files, but he said there are several things people can do to protect themselves. He says while it may be time consuming, update your software when it says it has an update.

“Don’t let it go too long without installing those updates because otherwise you could be vulnerable to a malware attack or a ransomware attack,” said Siewert.

Siewert says it’s also important to get antivirus software and keep that updated too. As a failsafe, he says keep a backup of important files somewhere other than on your computer.

“I like a physical external backup, so an external hard drive that you connect and then can disconnect from the computer system and then don’t keep it hooked up to the computer system because then that could also be affected,” said Siewert.

Siewert says like anything else that’s used regularly your computer has to be maintained in order to be protected and work properly.

“It’s like keeping up an oil change with your car. With anything that we have that we use on a routine basis, it requires routine maintenance,” said Siewert.

If you do have an older version of Microsoft Windows, an update is available.

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