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How to protect your Windows computer against the recent malware attack

Published Jun 28th, 2017 7:45AM EDT

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A new wave of ransomware attacks swept the world on Tuesday, starting with Ukraine and spreading to other regions of the world. The attack was immediately compared to last month’s WannaCry, but that’s not quite the case, as the new ransomware isn’t as viral.

Researchers already found a stupid simple way to protect Windows machines that might be affected by Petya, but that will not stop them from spreading it to other computers.

The “vaccine,” as BBC calls it, is easy to deploy. What you need to do is create a read-only file named perfc and place it in the “C:\Windows” folder on your computer. That should stop the attack, but your computer can still transmit the “disease” to others.” Bleeping Computer further details the temporary fix and provides a batch file that can be used to automate the file’s creation.

If your computer is running an updated Windows version, then you’re not going to contract this Petya malware. But not everybody has the latest Windows versions running on their machines, especially corporations. BBC notes that various targets were hit on Tuesday, including the Ukrainian central bank, a Russian oil giant, but also an advertising firm and a law firm in the US.

If activated, Petya will demand a ransom amounting to $300 in Bitcoin.

Petya is still very dangerous, the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCERT) explained as the malware doesn’t only encrypt targeted files, but it also stops the computer from loading the operating system. Furthermore, it can spread to other PCs on the network.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.