The Federal Government has asked all its ministries, departments, agencies to isolate any computer system that may be affected by rampaging virus known as Ransomwre.

In a statement obtained in Abuja, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Dr. Isa Ibrahim, said all the MDAs should take necessary measures to avoid contacting the virus.

The Nigerian Communications Commission in a separate statement advised telecommunications operators and their subscribers to protect their systems and gadgets using software patch released by Microsoft to fix the virus; “scheduled penetration tests on the networks and systems to ensure protection and availability at all times.”

Ibrahim was quoted as saying, "This attack, known as "WannaCry" or "WannaCrypt", spreads by itself between computers and does not require human interaction. It restricts access to the affected system as well as demands for the payment ransom. This attack has so far affected over 99 countries and 100,000 machines.

“The ransomeware attack exploited vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows Operating System, especially those not currently supported such as Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003. Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability in March and machines that were updated with the patch would have been automatically protected.

“Should your system be infected by ransomware, isolate the system form your network to prevent the threat from further spreading.”

Ibrahim listed other steps that should be taken as removal of the system from network; avoiding the use of flash/pen drive, external drives on the system to copy files to other systems; formatting the system completely and getting fresh operating system copy installed; and contacting the NITDA Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team for assistance.

The NOTAP boss listed preventive measures to be taken by anyone using a computer system in the country to include regularly updating their operating systems with the latest patches; and regularly updating their software applications with latest patches.

Ibrahim said NITDA was working with critical stakeholders to come up with ways in which the Nigerian cyberspace could be adequately protected. The NCC also said, "Subscribers who use their smart phones as substitutes to computers for Internet access should protect themselves and their devices by not opening e-mail attachments/links from unknown sources; not clicking pop-ups and applets on unknown websites; and installing effective antivirus software for their mobile devices."

The commission had earlier said that the situation demanded that proactive measures be taken by all players in the telecommunications ecosystem to forestall the hazards of critical data loss, ‘financial losses and ultimately network/business disruption."

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