The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has issued a fresh alert on a virus targeting Windows operating systems that denies users access to data in their computers until ransom has been paid.

The ransomware virus, which goes by the name Petya, is similar to the WannaCry ransomware virus that massively attacked computers across the world in May this year. .

Once a computer has been infected with the virus, it tries to infect other computers within the network and denies users access to their information. The Authority has warned the public against yielding to ransom demands.

To stay safe, the Authority through National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team (KE-CIRT), has advised computer users to observe a number of precautions including ensuring they have an up-to-date back up of their files offline to ensure the information can be easily restored in the event of an attack.

In a press release signed by CA’s Director of Licensing, Compliance and Standards, Mr. Christopher Kemei, the Authority noted the virus had infected computers in many countries across the globe and urged Kenyans to their anti-virus software was up-to-date.

CA also discouraged consumers from clicking on links or opening attachments or email from unknown sources.  

“Unless you trust the source, do not enable macros and instead delete the email immediately and permanently,” cautioned CA. 

The National KE-CIRT/CC is Kenya’s national cyber-crime management trusted point of contact, based at the CA Centre.