Protect Yourself Against Ransomware

If you are a regular reader of this fine technology blog you must know that ransomware is dangerous, malicious and becoming more widespread with each passing day.  You do not need to panic because there are steps you can take to minimize the risk that your computer will be infected.

Update Often

Make sure that your software, operating system and plug-ins like Java and Flash are kept up-to-date by turning on their automatic update feature.

Some hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities in those programs to install ransomware automatically when consumers visit hacked websites.

Back-Up Your Data

If your files are locked by ransomware, the only way to recover them without paying the ransom is from backup copies. If you are not yet doing regular backups, you should start.

Even if you are doing regular backups – beware. Some ransomware can find and encrypt files on anything that looks like an attached drive, including external hard drives you may have connected, drives you may have on your local network or cloud services like Dropbox and OneDrive

To protect yourself use cloud backup services like Carbonite or Mozy in addition to an external hard drive that you disconnect after each backup. You should back up your data in multiple places or on to multiple drives.

Run Anti-Virus Software

First please keep it up-to-date and have it set to scan for viruses automatically. Anti-virus software can usually detect and block known ransomware.

However be aware that anti-virus programs typically struggle to identify and protect your computer from new versions of ransomware, so they are not a perfect solution. Some anti-malware programs can act as a kind of backup, allowing you to undue changes ransomware and other malware have done to your computer.

Think Before You Click

This bay me one of the most important tips here. Be skeptical of links or documents sent to you in email and be wary of clicking on them. A good rule here is that if you did not specifically request the links or documents contact the sender directly (in person or by phone) and verify the legitimacy of the email before clicking on anything.

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