Experts outline ways to protect your computer from cyber attacks

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A massive ransomware attack had people seeing messages on their computers urging them to update their antivirus software.

Ransomware called WanaCry attacked thousands of computer systems across the world over the weekend.

“Hackers only need to be right once,” Mike Stamas, of GreyCastle Security, said. “We need to be right every time.”

Stamas said ransomware attacks are common; they’re just not usually so widespread.

“This ransomware essentially attacked a vulnerability in Microsoft XP,” he explained.

Microsoft XP is more than 10 years old. Stamas said it’s important to consistently update your computer software.

“Technology moves so fast, and vulnerabilities also move fast,” he said.

Eliot Rich, of Albany, has his computer set to update every day and has files backed up elsewhere, so he has a plan in place if he were to get hacked.

“I would just reformat my disc and restore from my backup,” he said.

Rich is more tech savvy than most, dealing in anti-virus and spyware research for 15 years. He said he’d never pay a ransom for his files.

“The people on the other side are criminals,” he said. “We don’t know if we pay the ransom if they’re going to unlock our data or not.”

Tyler Hutchinson, of New Hartford, also backs up his files, but he has something else on his mind when it comes to ransomware.

“Is my family going to be okay with this stuff?” he wondered. “Am I going to get a call from mom and say what’s going on with my computer?”

He said they make sure to communicate when scares like the recent ransomware attack happen.

“We tend to let each other know, ‘Hey, this is going on, so just watch out and be careful,’” Hutchinson said.

All good tips, according to Stamas, who said it’s not if an attack will happen to you but when.

“You probably are going to have some sort of ransomware incident,” he warned.

GreyCastle said for an attack as widespread as the one from over the weekend, the Capital Region remained largely unaffected.

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