The internet has blessed us in many ways; interconnectedness, e-commerce, and social media, amongst many others. We get to communicate with loved ones from across the globe. We could order that favorite shoe or bag, even if it’s several continents away. Our friends and family could see us and how we’re doing, even if it’s just behind a computer screen. Technology and the internet have done wonders for us, yet with the highs also come the lows.
Along with the advent of this new platform, malicious acts of crime and activities also surface. Among those crimes is one that harms a lot of businesses, big or small. A new way of extorting money across the digital world, ransomware has taken over and caused damage across different platforms. Ransomware protection is an important topic to be discussed. Protecting yourself from these attacks starts with knowing what they are, how they work, and who is vulnerable to them.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is basically an extortion method done through computers. Attackers send out a virus through email, text, or even links across different platforms. Anything where they can send you a string of code, and you allow that code to be downloaded to your system is how they start. Once you’ve clicked on a link or downloaded a software program you thought might be good, the code will do its work. It will start to encrypt all of your data and information with a special code that can only be broken and removed by the attackers themselves. Along with that is a cover screen that tells you how your files and data are locked. Any attempt to recover them will cause system-wide file corruption, and you’d lose everything. The only way to recover your files would be to contact a certain number or pay a certain account. From there, you’re a victim of ransomware.
How do you protect yourself against it?
Prevention is always better than cure. The best way to prevent yourself from falling victim to these attacks is to be knowledgeable of the situation. Now that you know how they enter the ransomware into your system, here are some other ways to protect yourself.
- Keep your device updated – outdated software, discontinued devices, and browsers/programs that are no longer being security patched routinely are avenues for the attackers to get you. Keeping your devices and operating system up to date offers the latest security protection, which is a step you could always take in keeping yourself safe from ransomware.
- Trust only those who you know – clicking links from people you don’t know, opening suspicious email attachments, downloading from unknown websites, or even plugging flash drives you’re not familiar with are also ransomware vulnerability risks. Keeping a keen eye on your device and knowing which link is trusted is a good practice you could build in order to prevent ransomware attacks from getting you.
- Create external backups – in the event that the ransomware has infiltrated your system and decryption is impossible, paying would have been your only way. In order to prevent this scenario from happening, you could always manually back up your files in an external storage device that is secure and disconnected from your computer. Making sure that the backup is not connected to any network that could be infected by ransomware is a good step to take whenever you’re trying to keep safe from the attacks.
Anyone is at risk of ransomware attacks. If you belong to the healthcare industry or a business enterprise, you might be more at risk than others. Following the steps above is one of the few key things that might prevent you and your company from losing thousands of dollars. It’s always a good idea to be knowledgeable of the matter.