Ransomware is the fastest growing crime on the internet. Ransomware attacks increased by 4500% in 2014, and are showing no signs of stopping, they are just too profitable for the attackers. How can you stop the attacks? Here are seven things that will make a tremendous difference.
- Don’t pay the ransom. Before you ask “But won’t you get your files back if you pay the ransom?” Just like a bully who tires of the keep-away game, you likely will get your files back if you pay. But you may not. If the attacker senses your desperation, you might get asked to pay again and again.
- Don’t open attachments in email. There are a lot of different attackers running ransomware scams, using different ways to try and infect you. One of the most popular is using spam emails. The email will ask you to download or install something. Don’t do it, just don’t open anything.
- Do keep software up to date. The bad guys know about weaknesses in the software on your PC before you do. And they use them to get on your computer. Patching removes the vulnerability. If you are given the option of updating your software then do it.
- Do back up your files. People think nothing bad is ever going to happen to them until it does. Hopefully, you are never affected by ransomware. In the event it ever does, wouldn’t you like to have a copy of all your files somewhere safe? You can tell the attacker to rack off. Everyone knows they need to back up their files but never does it. Now you have one more very good reason to do it.
- New ransomware variants are appearing all the time. Always keep your security software up to date for protection against attacks.
- Treat any Microsoft Office email attachment that advises you to enable macros to view its content as suspicious. Unless you are 100% sure that it is a genuine email from a trusted source, don’t enable macros and immediately delete the email.
- Using cloud services could help mitigate ransomware infection since most retain previous versions of files, which allows you to “roll back” to the unencrypted form.
These ransomware attackers are preying on us. But implementing following a few simple dos and don’ts we can protect ourselves from them. And protect ourselves from other malware attackers.