Ransomware is a type of malicious software that takes over a computer and locks the user out, preventing them from accessing any files by encrypting them, until they pay money. This particular ransomware, asks for $300, though the price increases over time.
Individuals with PCs running Windows must take a few precautions. First, install any software updates immediately and make it a regular habit. Turn on auto-updaters where available (Microsoft offers that option). Patches were released in March to remove the vulnerability that WannaCry exploits, but if you haven’t installed them, you’ve left yourself wide open. There are excellent free and paid antivirus programs available. Keep your antivirus application and signatures updated, or like uninstalled patches, they won’t do you any good.
If you don’t already have a backup routine, start now and regularly save copies of all your important files. That way if your machine gets infected and your photos and documents are encrypted, you don’t need to worry about losing them. If possible, only plug your backup device in during backups, and remove it when complete. This makes sure that it won’t also become encrypted.
Finally, always stay alert. Don’t click on links that you don’t recognize, or download files from people you don’t know personally. Be safe out there.