Smart Safety Tips to Keep Ransomware at Bay
Ransomware has to be one of the most frightening forms of computer hacking. This particularly malicious style of intrusion does more than destroy your data or record your keystrokes. Instead, it locks up your computer and renders it unusable until you pay a ransom the bad guys specify.
That ransom can range from a few hundred pounds to many thousands, but there is more than money at stake. Ransomware is an intrusion, and a dangerous one at that. Federal authorities have seen reports of ransomware rise sharply in recent years, and this exploit has affected individual users and businesses alike.
Once the ransomware virus is activated, it encrypts all of the files on the target computer, from precious and irreplaceable family photographs to music and video files to proprietary corporate documents and sensitive customer data. As with any kind of computer exploit, the best defense against ransomware is prevention. Once you have become a victim, you might have no choice but to pay up – or call the authorities and hope for the best.
Fortunately there are some proactive steps you can take to reduce your chances of becoming a ransomware victim. The first and most important step is to have a solid virus protection system on your computer. Check your antivirus software often and make sure it is set to update automatically. Running daily overnight scans and checking the results first thing in the morning is one of the best ways to defend your computer from ransomware and an array of other online threats.
Having a solid firewall in place is another way to protect yourself from ransomware and ensure that any ransomware virus that does make it to your PC cannot run and encrypt your files. Check your PC to make sure it has a solid firewall in place, and that the protection on that firewall is up to date.
It is also important to contact the company that makes the firewall software and ask about protection from ransomware. Some firewall makers have been busily updating their products to fight the specific threat posed by ransomware, while others have been slower in their response. Having the right information will make it easier to choose the best protection.
Having a good antivirus program and solid firewall are both important, but having a backup plan is even more critical. Backing up your data to a cloud service is the best protection against ransomware. If you have duplicate copies of all your files, the criminals on the other end of the ransomware attack will have far less leverage. Armed with your backup copies, you can safely contact the authorities and bring those cyber criminals to justice.