The National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, has advised Nigerians on the recent ransomware virus which infected tens of thousands of computers in 104 countries across the world.
A global cyberattack which began on Friday forced a European carmaker to halt some production lines, hit Russian computers with more than half of suspected infections, struck schools in China and hospitals in Indonesia, with Britain’s health system suffering the worst known disruptions.
Researchers with Czech Republic-based security software maker Avast said they had observed more than 126,000 ransomware infections, with 60 percent of infected computers located in Russia, followed by Ukraine and Taiwan.
The ransomware virus swept computers running on Microsoft Windows Operating System, especially those not currently supported such as Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003, across the globe.
Cyber extortionists tricked victims into opening malicious malware attachments to spam emails that seemed to contain invoices, job offers, security warnings and other legitimate files.
Once inside the targeted network, so-called ransomware made use of recently revealed spy tools to silently infect other out-of-date machines without any human intervention. With security experts believing the attack could spread in the coming days and weeks.
The ransomware encrypted data on the computers, will demand payments of $300 to $600 before unlocking it.
In a statement issued by its Director General, Ibrahim Pantami, NITDA gave Nigerians guidelines on how to protect their personal and workplace computers from being affected by ransomware.
“Should your system be infected by ransomware, isolate the system from your network to prevent the threat from further spreading. In addition, the following actions can be taken immediately:
• Remove the system from Network.
• Do not use flash/pen drive, external drives on the System to copy files to other systems.
• Format the System completely and get fresh OS copy installed.
As a general precautionary measure, NITDA recommended that individuals and organisations should:
• Regularly update their operating systems with the latest patches.
• Regularly update their software applications with latest patches.
• Avoid downloading and opening unsolicited files and attachments.
• Adjust security software to scan compressed or archived files