IT experts advise updates, data backups after cyberattack

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Tens of thousands of businesses have suffered from a targeted cyberattack Friday, prompting computer experts to remind users on the importance of computer security.

The WannaCry Ransomware attack affected companies in 150 countries, including hospitals, universities and transport systems. It encrypted files on the user’s computer and demanded $300 for the user to view the files.

READ MORE: Huge cyberattack ebbs as investigators work to find culprits

After the sweeping attack, information technology specialists are urging computer users to check over their security.

If you have lots of pictures, home videos or any other data saved on your computer, experts say you should find an alternative way to store it, should your computer be compromised. That could be through flash drives, separate hard drives, or even online servers like the Microsoft Cloud — that way you still have access to it.

Eric Wiechmann, an IT service technician with Rapid City's Affordable Computer Solutions, said to trust your gut when it comes to suspicious content.

"The biggest thing is don't open email attachments from people you don't know. Don't click on web links you don't recognize,” Wiechmann said. “Actually read them and follow them, because you'll have a lot of hidden links that might say one thing, and it's actually leading you down another path. If it pulls up on a website you don't recognize, close out of it. Get out, and get away."

Wiechmann said it’s always best practice to update the computer operating software when updates become available.

Microsoft released a new security patch Monday morning to prevent its users from becoming a victim, even offering it to users who still use Microsoft XP — the 2003 program no longer serviced by the technology giant.

Additionally, the Department of Homeland security assembled tips on protecting networks from Ransomware to prevent the spread.

READ MORE: Ransomware: What it is and what to do about it

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