Ransomware is one of the most dangerous threats on the internet right now. It’s a particularly pernicious type of malware, which actually seize your files after infecting your computer and encrypts your files until you pay to get them back. The infection isn’t usually limited to one device, either—just like a zombie virus, it will spread through your system to any connected devices. Plus, even if you pay the ransom… there’s no guarantee the program will actually release your files.
If that sounds pretty medieval hacking strategy to you: Yes, that is exactly like seizing a noble prince from a neighboring kingdom as he’s riding through the forest and keeping him locked in a stone tower until the court ransoms him back with a chest of gold pieces. It’s a criminal tactic that really hasn’t evolved since the 1400s—and it’s a serious problem right now.
Here are some of the strategies we suggest using to protect yourself against ransomware infections:
Install Updates Regularly
One of the best things you can do for your systems and your organization as a whole is to ensure that updates are run on time. Most ransomware attacks target vulnerable applications that may not have installed the latest security patches. Stay one step ahead of these attackers by always making sure you have the latest versions installed.
Invest In Security Software
Investing in a solid security system and then keeping it updated is a great way to make sure that nothing dangerous ever slips through the cracks. A reputable antivirus with a strong firewall will stop many threats in their tracks and give others enough trouble that they won’t bother going further. While there is no surefire way to prevent these attacks from occurring, you can definitely work to make your system a difficult target.
Look Before You Click
Always hover over links to ensure that they lead where you think they will! One of the most obvious ways to tell if you are being led to a suspicious site is if the URL is almost right, but not quite. It may be missing letters, numbers, or have a different domain than usual. If the link doesn’t look normal, don’t click on it!
Back Up Your Data
We really can’t stress the importance of backups enough. When you back up your systems and data regularly both in the cloud and in a physical on-site copy (that is NOT connected to your other devices), you’ll be able to restore your files without ever having to worry about the encrypted ones. Many versions of cloud storage allow you to revert to a previous version of your files, so in many cases, you may be able to simply revert to a version where your files are unencrypted.
By taking these steps, you’ll keep yourself, your equipment, and your data safe from ransomware threats. Don’t let your “royalty” go riding through the forest alone! By using the proper security measures and requiring two-factor authentication, you can send your noble prince into the forest in full armor, protected by his best knights. And if you need help adding the right protection to your systems… you know where to find us.