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» » Don't download unknown files to prevent cyber attack

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Don't download unknown files to prevent cyber attack



ICT experts in the country have cautioned internet users to avoid opening or downloading suspicious links sent to their e-mails so as not to be vulnerable to cyber-attack.

The warning is coming on the heels of a massive cyber-attack by the WannaCry ransomware that infected close to 200,000 computers, and has so far spread across 150 countries.

Ransomware is capable of infecting and encrypting all files on a system or any smart device. The infected files would be encrypted until an amount was paid for a decryption key, or other means of retrieval (which may lead to data loss) were used to recover the system as an alternative.

Although no attacks were reported in Nigeria, the experts warned internet users to protect their system against any eventualities.

One of the first things to do today is updating your Windows software as soon as you log into your computer because that’s where the vulnerability is, an ICT expert warned.

Wole Adewumi, an ICT expert based in Ibadan, Oyo State warned that internet users should avoid visiting unknown websites, or download any files from an unknown websites.

He also advised internet users to avoid opening or saving of attachments received through unknown emails. “Even though an email received from a known person, please click on the sender’s email address to verify the actual email id of the email received before opening any attachment. This is to make sure that the email received is not a spoofed email.”

Another expert, Akin Akinola, advised users take a backup of their PC/laptop on a daily basis which is the best way to avoid data loss at the time of malware attack.

He warned that if users suspect any infection, they should immediately disconnect the device from the network to avoid it spreading to other devices and inform your IT support team.

”But if you are unfortunate and the ransomware is already installed in your machine today, there is not much you can do. Once you are affected, you have to go for a complete wipe and restore with the backup you hopefully have created,” he said.

Companies in Asia and Europe have been warning employees to be careful when clicking on attachments and links in their emails, while UK’s National Crime Agency was “do not pay!” – There is no guarantee that systems will be restored.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has also urged telecommunications operators and subscribers to deploy firewalls as a proactive measure to tackle cyber-attack.

The commission said that alerting operators and subscribers of the virus was in fulfillment of its statutory mandate to ensure security and integrity of the national telecommunications network.

The commission also advised subscribers who use their smartphones as substitutes to computers for internet access to protect themselves and their devices by no opening e-mail attachments/links from unknown sources.

Meanwhile, computer giant, Microsoft, said the attack, which has affected hundreds of thousands of computers, should serve as a wake-up call. The company said the tool used in this current attack had been developed by the US National Security Agency and was stolen by hackers.

The organisation also said that many organisations had failed to keep their systems up to date, allowing the virus to spread. It said it had released a Windows security update in March to tackle the problem involved in the last attack.




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