How to Protect Yourself From Being Stung by a Ransomware Attack

    Protect from Ransomware Attack : If you read the paper or online news, you are likely already boggled by the sheer amount of ransomware attacks of the past few years. In fact, last year, according to reports, attacks increased almost 10-fold.

    While many individuals think, erroneously, that hackers are only out to get businesses and large organisations with ransomware, unfortunately this just isn’t the case. Cybercriminals target anyone and everyone, and you could end up with your systems crashed and your data stolen if you’re not careful.

    Fortunately, there are numerous things you can do to stay safe. Read on for a brief rundown of ransomware and some proactive steps you can take today.

    Ransomware Is a Specific Type of Hack

    Cybercriminals use ransomware to make money. They break into the systems of individuals, businesses, charities and government departments, and then they lock owners out of their own devices or crash systems or delete information, so people can’t access their data.

    Hackers tell computer owners they won’t be able to get back onto their devices until a ransom is paid into an online account. Also, sometimes hackers threaten to release sensitive details out into the world (such as trade secrets or proof of infidelities and other wrongdoings) unless money is handed over.

    You Have to Protect Your PC

    One of the simplest yet most effective ways you can keep cybercriminals at bay is to protect your PC, so they can’t get access in the first place. For example, purchase the best PC protection you can find, a program that covers you against a wide variety of threats, such as malware, spyware, spam, viruses and specific ransomware attacks. You want to use software that will keep your details private when browsing online and that will identify data-stealing apps and other threats in real time.

    Protect from Ransomware Attack
    Protect from Ransomware Attack

    It’s also a good idea to use firewalls on your computers and networks. Check the settings on your PC to see if there is already a firewall installed; most manufacturers automatically add them onto computers. However, if there is one on there, check to see if it has been activated or not. If you don’t have a firewall on your computer, then purchase a third-party product.

    Use Good Passwords to Keep People Out

    Next, always use good passwords to keep people out of your network and devices. This includes your administrative accounts, your banking accounts, your ecommerce store accounts and anywhere else where you input personal data that hackers could use to break into your systems.

    Effective passwords are those which are at least eight characters in length and which are changed every few months. They should be made up of a mixture of characters, too, such as upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers and symbols.

    Try to use a variety of different passwords across your various accounts, so if one happens to be compromised, you’ll know that not everything else has been. Use a trusted password manager product if needed. Also, make sure you don’t advertise any words, numbers or phrases that relate to the password(s) you use. Be wary of choosing codes based on things like your children’s names, your address, phone number, birthdate, pet names and the like.

    Update Systems

    Another key step is to update all of your systems on a regular basis. Many hackers use gaps in security protocols to break into networks, so you must take steps to avoid this by ensuring you’re always running the latest version of programs. This covers all sorts of software, from the security products you use to operating systems, browsers, apps, games, plugins and more.

    Back Up Your Data

    Lastly, always back up your data. This way, if you ever do get stung by a ransomware attack, you don’t have to pay hackers, as you’ll have access to your data elsewhere. It’s easier than ever to do this as you can use online tools such as Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox and more. Set up these types of services to automatically back up your data each time you create and save a document, so you never have to remember to do it yourself. Also, it pays to back up information to an external hard disk drive too (one that doesn’t stay connected to your computers) as extra security.

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