A new type of malware, a cross between ransomware and worm viruses, flashed across the globe on May 12, 2017. It interrupted medical procedures at Britain's National Health Service, disrupted telecommunications and hit Eurpoe, Latin America and parts of Asia especially hard. It goes by the names, WannaCrypt or WannaCry.
Almost all of this havoc could have been avoided if the affected Windows computers had be regularly updated. The ransom worm was able to spread rapidly by exploiting a Windows vulnerability that Microsoft had fixed in its March 2017 updates.
In typical fashion, the malware tricks a user into clicking a link in a bogus email. But then it fans out across the user's network infecting other computers, encrypting files and demanding a ransom. Fortunately, a 22-year-old British researched happened upon a method of interrupting the ransomware on home and small business computers (those not using proxy servers).
You can avoid falling prey to ransom worms by keeping your computers and antivirus software updated and by not clicking on links and attachments in emails unless you are absolutely sure they are safe. Don't fall for alarming emails or fake emails purportedly from Fedex, UPS, your bank, or even from your friends and co-workers.