Protecting yourself from cyberattacks

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Computer repair specialist Ron Pierce, with Trinity Solutions, Inc., said the ransomware attack over the weekend was a test and bound to happen again. While most of the 300,000 victims included businesses and governmental agencies, they can happen to individuals as well.

Pierce said ransomware is not a new tactic for hackers, this particular attack was just on a large scale.

Pierce explains that Mac users are just as susceptible to ransomware as PC users.

“With this particular version, Windows, Windows XP, older servers, Windows 2008, that's what got infected. The newer equipment didn't because Microsoft has already patched that,” Pierce said.

“Ransomware can affect a Mac, it doesn't happen as much mainly because there’s still as not as many Macs in the world as there are PCs. And so when  these people write these codes they’re going for who they can do the most damage to and they’re going after the PC's because that's where most of the computers are. From a government infrastructure standpoint, hospitals, most of them are PCs -- they’re not Mac,” he continued.

Suggestions to protect your personal or small business computer system falls in line with the suggest from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The following statement was released Friday before the brunt of the attacks.

"The Department of Homeland Security is aware of reports of ransomware known as WannaCry affecting multiple global entities. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it. Microsoft released a patch in March that addresses this specific vulnerability, and installing this patch will help secure your systems from the threat. Individual users are often the first line of defense against this and other threats, and we encourage all Americans to update your operating systems and implement vigorous cybersecurity practices at home, work, and school. These practices include:

  • Update your systems to include the latest patches and software updates.
  • Do not click on or download unfamiliar links or files in emails.
  • Back up your data to prevent possible loss, whether you are at a home, work, or school computer.

"We are actively sharing information related to this event and stand ready to lend technical support and assistance as needed to our partners, both in the United States and internationally.

"DHS has a cadre of cybersecurity professionals that can provide expertise and support to critical infrastructure entities.

"DHS also leads the federal government’s efforts to protect civilian executive branch agency systems and networks. In partnership with each agency’s Chief Information Officer we are ensuring our own networks are protected against the threat."