How can I protect my computer from ransomware?

There have been many different types of threats facing computer users over the years. From viruses and spyware to phishing attacks, they’ve all sought to either disrupt or steal from the user. The latest threat comes in the form of ransomware, a particularly nasty type of attack that locks up your files and demands money to release them.

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Recent high-profile attacks like the WannaCry/WannaCrypt attack earlier this year https://betanews.com/2017/05/15/wannacrypt-what-we-know/ have brought ransomware into the public consciousness, though it’s actually been around for a while. It started by trying to trick people into thinking their computers had been locked by law enforcement agencies due to some infringement. The latest variants are much more upfront about their criminal intent.

Protection measures

The best protection against ransomware is to ensure that you have an up to date backup of all your important files. In the event that you do get attacked this will allow you to recover your system back to a point before the infection took hold. Ideally, you should back up to an external drive that isn’t normally connected to the machine. Keeping the drive connected or backing up in the cloud risks the backup being compromised too.

You should also make sure that your system is up to date. This means applying the latest operating system patches as soon as they’re available. WannaCry spread as far and as fast as it did due to out of date systems. The operating system isn’t the only thing you need to keep up to date, your other software should be checked for patches too. You should also install security software or Endpoint security management from a firm such as https://www.promisec.com and keep that up to date too.

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Safe computing

As well as these measures you also need to ensure you and your staff practice safe computing. For ransomware to take hold you generally need to have downloaded some malware to your machine. This might come as an email attachment or from an infected website. You, therefore, need to be suspicious of anything unexpected and not install anything you’re unsure of.

Finally, if you do suffer an attack, you should never pay the ransom. Doing so only encourages further attacks and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get your files back if you pay up.