Ransomware is on the rise and is increasingly becoming a popular way to extort individuals and corporations. This is achieved by sneaking into their systems and holding their data or their files ransom. It is basically malicious software that only succeeds because of sheer negligence of users or organizations. It can also happen if you fail to take the proper steps to protect your computer from ransomware.
If you do not protect your computer from ransomware, hackers can take over your files and data and then make demands, usually financial ones. Many people simply oblige to the attackers’ demands because of the potential loss if they were to lose the files or the data. However, it is never a guarantee that they will release the files or cede control.
There are plenty of ways ransomware can creep into our computers and take over files and all the data. However, all those tactics usually pry on software vulnerabilities or social engineering.
These 4 tips will help protect your computer from ransomware:
1. Back up your data regularly
Regular basis, in this case, would mean once or twice each day. The single biggest strategy to defeat ransomware threats is to do a daily backup. It is better to lose a few hours worth of data than weeks and months of the same data.
The trick is to have a regular backup regimen that will ensure you are only a couple of hours away from full restoration. This way, you won’t have to entertain any extortion nonsense if your systems were hacked or seized.
2. Filter .exe and pdf files
One of the most common ways ransomware arrives at your computer or network is through files with .pdf or .exe files. By default, Windows hides files extensions, especially for known files. To spot these files, you will need to enable it to show the full file names, including the extension.
For that extra caution, you should also filter emails that contain executable files or the ones that include attachments with two file extensions. Your mail server should be able to this. If you need to exchange executable files, then you can consider any of the cloud services or simply ZIP them using password protection.
3. Stay away from suspicious websites
Even browsers these days flag suspicious and illegal sites but we still go ahead and visit them. You may get lucky one time, but you are exposing your computer to potential attacks. A lot of malicious software is also transmitted through these sites. Therefore, to protect your computer from ransomware, you’ll do well to steer clear of such websites.
4. Always use protection
Take out the best protection you can get your hands on. It should include both antivirus and anti-malware capabilities, including a strong firewall. Sometimes, there can be suspicious activities that your plain eye cannot pick out. A good antivirus software will flag any actual or potential threats and therefore, protect your computer from ransomware as well.
Remember, hackers are always on the prowl and are constantly trying to tweak their threats to avoid detection. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that your antivirus software is constantly updated so that you can tighten security around your systems.
Backups and system restore points are your perfect fall back plan. Follow these tips and you’ll never need to negotiate with a hacker. After all, we should never encourage criminals by caving into their demands.
How else can you protect your computer from ransomware? Share with us in the comments section.