XP to Win8 most susceptible to ransonware attacks: institute

2017/05/15 21:00:28
(Picture downloaded from Pixabay)

(Picture downloaded from Pixabay)

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Computers installed with Microsoft's XP to Win8 operating systems are the most susceptible to a ransomware attack that has struck over 150 countries around the globe during the past few days, a government-funded research institute said Monday.

The Institute for Information Industry (III) advised users to "patch" up their OS, make backup copies of key data and not pay a ransom if hit by the WannaCry malware, which demands that victims pay ransoms in Bitcoin if they want to retrieve locked files.

"Constantly updating your OS is the most fundamental and critical way to prevent WannaCry attacks," said Mao Ching-hao (毛敬豪), a cybersecurity expert at the III.

Mao said many office workers unplugged their computers' internet links and changed their activation mode to "safety mode" when they got into the office Monday, and he believed "this is a good way to keep your computers safe."

To further ensure data safety, he suggested that computer users upload their desktop or notebook data to cloud drives that can be shared by cellphones as a way to diversify risks from hacking.

He also reminded users to make use of the "reset" function in their computers. Many people may have shut down the "reset" function to save hard disk space, but Mao argued that "it's worth trading some disk space to better protect your computers."

The Taiwan Computer Emergency Response Team/Coordination Center (TWCERT) suggested that people worried about WannaCry attacks log on to III's safety advisory site http://secbuzzer.iii.org.tw to catch up on the latest developments related to the ongoing security breaches.

Science and Technology Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said Monday the government has done a pretty good job keeping WannaCry ransomware from ravaging computer users in Taiwan.

"Our capability to fight computer viruses is quite good, so the damage so far is rather minor," he said.

Asked if proposed amendments to the cybersecurity law that require telecom service providers to beef up security would increase their costs, Chen said "it's better to prevent hacker attacks than to repair damage done to our networks."

(By Huang Ya-chuan, Huang Li-yun and S.C. Chang)
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