There are incidents fast becoming popular in the computing world. This is where a hacker installs malware in your computer system and asks for payment (ransom) in order to give you back access to your data. This is called ransomware.
Ransomware is Malware that holds the data of a computer user for ransom, usually requiring or claiming to require payment to restore access.
One of the most popular incidents on Ransomware was the “WannaCry” worm that wreaked havoc. Big companies such as FedEx, Deutsche Bank, and the UK’S National Health Service were all crippled when their Windows computers were infected and payment was demanded in Bitcoin to unlock their data.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
Which Links and Attachments do you open on Email?
Normally, emails come with different links and attachments from Various sources. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many technical tools you have at your disposal; whether attackers are successful or not can depend on your own online behavior. Don’t click on links or attachments in emails sent by strangers. Most “phishing” emails that impersonate banks, technology companies, shipping companies and others have clues that they are scams. For example, poor grammar and spelling and the use of general email addresses such as hotmail or gmail. A bank wouldn’t email you using gmail. Set your spam filters to the strongest setting. You can always check your junk folder for anything legitimate that was blocked.
Things like “PayePal” or “Pay Pal” instead of “PayPal,” should be looked out for. Hover your cursor over a link to make sure the URL matches the hyperlink. Ransomware attacks can be distributed in phony online ads, email links, social media messages and even via text message. Be skeptical. Don’t respond to messages from strangers or click on links in spam emails.
Use antivirus and anti malware software, run it often and update it
You can buy software or download it, in some cases for free. Set your software to update automatically so you are protected from new threats as they are identified.
Antivirus software can block some ransomware attacks by detecting variants of known viruses. Make sure to run regular scans to prevent ransomware and other common threats. And, in the case that you do fall victim, anti virus software can be important in making sure your system is sa after the attack, and before you reinstall your data from backup.
Constantly Update your computer’s operating system
Technology companies often send “patches” to fix known glitches or weak spots that hackers can exploit. By setting your system to update automatically, you should have the latest protections.
I very important that you keep all your software, including mobile apps, up-to-date. This way, attackers have a harder time taking advantage of known vulnerabilities.
Back-up your system and data
Paying a ransom to get your data back doesn’t guarantee that it will be given back to you as intact as it was. Actually, paying the ransom just encourages the attackers. The best preventative measure you can take is to backup your data on a regular basis, just in case you need to wipe your device clean after an attack. Copy photos and important documents to an external hard drive, jump drive or CD/DVD. You also can email them to yourself or upload them to an external cloud storage network such as Snapfish or Shutterfly where you can retrieve them from any computer or wireless device.
You can back-up your entire computer as well from which you can later restore your PC instead of starting from scratch if you encounter a problem.
Be on the look
Hackers and online crooks are always looking for new ways to trick us out of money and information. Stay informed about the latest ransomware attacks and how to avoid them. The precautions you take at home should also be applied to your work devices and data.
Although ransomware is a concerning trend, the good news is we can do a lot to counteract these sort of attacks. Your best shot at beating the hackers is to avoid an attack in the first place by following simple tricks stated above.