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Lawton computer experts offer advice to prevent ransomware

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - We've been hearing about it for days now. A cyber crime that affecting thousands across the globe. The ransom-ware virus called "Wanna Cry". Local experts are providing tips on how to protect your computer from becoming a target.

The initial attack happened Friday. The "Wanna Cry" virus is an encryption virus that will lock your personal documents and  require a password that only the hackers know to retrieve them. The virus is targeting old computers X-P operating systems, Windows server 2003, and Windows 8 programs. Computer experts say there have been no reports of anyone or businesses here in Lawton hit by the virus.

The virus comes through an email or link that asks you to open a file or picture. Once you click it, the virus takes over your computer. It will tell you your files have been encrypted and it will demand payment in order for you to retrieve them. Experts said the only way to protect yourself is checking and updating your computer along with keeping an anti virus software on it.

Outside Technician at PC Works Mikel Moore said the ransom-ware, "Wanna Cry" can affect just about anyone.

"Nothing bad ever happens at a good time we are all vulnerable even if you are not sitting down at your computer. If its on and its connected to the internet it can get affected it doesn't always require action on a users part," said Moore.

According to Moore, once the hackers get in they demand 300 dollars for the password to unlock your files, after three days they ask for double that amount and after 7 days the hackers delete your files if you don't pay.

And Moore said they take your money when you put in your information through an online currency program. Something he recommends people not to do.

"This specific virus is asking for payment in bitcoin which is virtually impossible to track because it is an encrypto currency, its not hard cash or a coin its completely computer generated and stored," said Moore.

But Moore said there are ways to protect yourself like making it a regular habit to install any updates.

"Make sure your running a modern version of windows with up-to-date anti-virus spy software and make sure that you do your patches your updates for Microsoft there are updates that could keep this from happening if they were done," said Moore.

And Moore said never click on links that you don't recognize, and don't download files from people you don't know.

"If you get a web page open that tells you not to close it and you can't close it re-boot your machine....In email if you don't know specifically who it came from, don't even open the email, if it is an attachment or a file  that has been sent with the email if there is an misspelling or something you were not expecting then don't open it," Moore said.

He said the virus is especially dangerous for businesses with mass amounts of personal data, and for them it could cost thousands.

"For a company that can be financial data what we are seeing so far with this one is primarily the banking institutions and medical institutions that are being targeted. A lot of those types of businesses are still running Windows XP because of the software they use so their data is very important so we are looking at financial information being gone, patient records being gone", Moore said.

Moore said keeping your computer updated and having anti-virus software is your best defense. If you are unsure about what software to purchase, call a computer company for a recommendation.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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