Over the weekend the world watched in horror as 150 countries were affected by the WannaCry ransomware attack. WannaCry attacked an estimated 200,000 computers demanding $300 ransoms to release access to vital files. Large organisations hit by the attack include the British National Health Service, Telefonica, Renault, Deutsche Bahn, FedEx, Nissan, the Russian Central Bank, Brazil’s social security system and Portugal Telecom.
Sources suggest the accounts linked to the attacks had received as much as $38,000 by the morning of 15th May. Worried site owners and businesses received ransomware warnings telling them the ransom will double after three days and files will be deleted after a week if no ransom is received.
Ransomware works by stealth, infiltrating the system via email. Usually this comes in the form of a zip or compressed file. Once the file has been downloaded or run, it encrypts part of the hard drive. This still allows users to access their computer but restricts specific vital files.
The WannaCry virus exploited a flaw in Microsoft Windows identified by and stolen from U.S. intelligence. Microsoft released a Windows Security update in March to deal with the impending threat, but many users hadn’t installed the update. Experts have warned affected users not to pay ransoms demands. Due to the criminal nature of the scam, it is unlikely WannaCry will release access to files even if ransoms are paid.
This attack has strongly highlighted the vulnerability of websites exposed to hackers and malware. For a large webcam network, hacking and malware attacks could present a real problem. Such an attack could lock them out of vital files such as payment details and client information. A breach of client information would lead to a loss in site credibility, not to mention potential access to thousands of users’ financial details and models’ confidential data.
Larger cam site operators have the benefit of entire IT departments and high-tech security systems to help minimise the potential threat. Chaturbate Chief Operating Officer Shirley Lara explained how they combat data threats by not gathering data in the first place.
Unlike some other cam sites, Chaturbate users are not required to provide any personal information or provide an email address to browse and interact with Chaturbate broadcasters. Moreover, we regularly perform penetration testing on our network, which is configured with the latest security protocols and state-of-the-art encryption systems that safeguard broadcasters’ and users’ information. Users and broadcasters may also elect to further secure their accounts by utilizing two-factor authentication, which confirms the person’s identity by utilizing a combination of two different components.
Tight internet security protocols on large networks enable users and performers to use sites with confidence that everything that can be done is being done to tackle the threat of hacking. For the independent cammer, however, the risk is still present. Independent models are less likely to have adequate IT support, and it’s unlikely any one person has the specific net security knowledge needed to combat this level of threat.
Although the prospect of ransomware and malware attacks are scary, they can be prevented. There are some simple steps you can take to reduce your vulnerability to hackers’ attacks:
- Ensure you install all critical operating system patches straight away.
- Update your systems when prompted, even if this seems long-winded and laborious.
- Make sure you make regular offline backups of vital files. This is the simplest way to prevent you from being a ransomware victim. You can’t be ransomed for files you can access elsewhere.
- If you’re an independent cammer, make sure your entire site can be restored from backup files. This way, even if the worst possible hacking scenario occurs and your site is nuked, you can restore it.
- Keep your antivirus and anti-malware software up to date. It’s worth paying for an anti-malware subscription if your computers are business-critical — and especially if you’re independent and don’t have IT support.
- Never open suspicious links or files. If an email arrives from an unknown source, take the time to check the origin before diving in and downloading files or clicking links. This is effectively handing hackers the keys to your site.
- If you are an independent site operating from home, make sure you change the default password to your router. This helps to prevent remote attacks.
As the world waits with bated breath to see if the expected second wave of WannaCry arrives, it surely must be a lesson all online industries can learn from: When it comes to internet security, you really can’t be too careful.
Katy Seymour is a super-sex-positive writer in the U.K. who believes kink is life. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.