How to protect yourself Ransomware is a harmful type of malware that blocks software and files, making it impossible to open the files or programs. The manufacturer demands that you pay a fee or ransom to access this data. Sometimes, the criminal will release your files. At other times, they’ll disappear and leave the files secure.
Being safe from ransomware isn’t too difficult. However, it takes some patience and time to ensure all is secured. While there’s no 100% assurance that you will never be attacked, there are methods to lower the chance of being attacked. There are several methods to avoid paying ransoms should your files be held hostage.
Using an antivirus program is among the best ways to secure yourself. However, there are other options worth looking into.
- Install an antivirus software
Utilizing antivirus is almost an accepted practice. It’s the first protection for all your systems. Many programs are made to detect and stop ransomware from infecting your computer. However, there are other viruses that criminals could use before giving ransomware a chance to spread.
Rootkits are malware that can sneak into your computer, giving a cybercriminal access to it remotely. While it’s not the same as ransomware, it’s an avenue for hackers to get into your files and check to find anything that warrants locking down.
Bots are yet another type of malware. They typically download via links shared via email or direct messages. Links. Once downloaded, these also take over your system and cause havoc. They stop you from opening websites, flood users with pop-ups, transmit messages to the author and can make your computer extremely slow.
If you find evidence that your computer is infected by malware, Make sure to take the necessary steps to eliminate it to safeguard yourself from a serious attack by ransomware. Utilizing software to remove malware is the best option.
- Secure your files
Alongside antivirus software, which can all identify and block ransomware, you can also use the encryption tool to secure your files in a manner that ransomware won’t recognize.
The encryption programs scramble your data which makes it difficult to identify the files when they are taken. This reduces the chance that the files are held hostage by ransomware since the virus will not recognize them as crucial.
Alongside encrypting the files, encryption solutions also secure each file or even the entire digital file cabinet by using the help of a passcode or password. The only method to gain access is to enter the passcode.
It’s not necessary to share the master code when you’re transferring these files to someone else. Instead, you’ll create and give one access code to ensure the recipient can view just one portion of the file instead of the entire file. This also makes it hard for ransomware programs to unlock the entire file if it manages to gain access to a shared access key.
- Do not open or reply to any suspicious messages.
It’s an email or a DM (direct message) via social media or even a text message; cybercriminals frequently use this method to earn your trust, gain access to your computer and download malware. And they can be clever by the way they use it.
If you get a text message, make sure you verify the email address that it came from. Cybercriminals can create email addresses that appear to be genuine, but if you take a closer look, you’ll find minor variations. For instance, “reason” appears like MSN’s address and could easily be interpreted as legitimate. Facebook knock-offs, like “facebook,” are often utilized.
For direct messages via platforms such as Facebook Messenger, cybercriminals like to copy profiles of family members and friends and then send an email that sounds like it’s coming from someone you have in common with. To stop these messages, locate the real person’s profile on the Social Media website, click on the Message link, and ask them if they’ve left a message for you.
- Backup everything
The most demanding aspect of ransomware security is also the one that can protect you from becoming a victim. Backup of your files requires only a few minutes on your part, however, should your network, files or even your entire system are blocked, the backup files will allow you to avoid the ransom payment and swiftly return everything to normal.
There are numerous methods to back up your computer’s files, but one of the most effective, easy, user-friendly, and secure options is to utilize such as Google Drive or iDrive. Both come with free as well as paid versions. Allow access from any device. Additionally, they come with additional security features to ensure that everything that is saved is secure until you require to access them.
If you’re infected with ransomware, you’ll need to sweep your system to clean it (reset to default settings) and then utilize your backup files to get everything normal. To be successful, it’s essential to backup your files regularly, as the backup file you last saved are the ones that are installed on your system.
- Invest in ID theft security.
An identity theft prevention service, such as IdentityForce, is another way to shield yourself from ransomware-related attacks. Cybercriminals don’t use ransomware on personal computers all that often. Instead, they focus on businesses.
If a business you worked with is the victim of ransomware, you may also be a victim. The cybercriminals involved in these instances cannot only lock out critical documents but also often steal lists of workers and clients with personal information. It could be birthdates, bank account numbers, social security numbers, and passwords.
Using an ID theft service can help keep an eye on the dark web in case your data could be transferred or used. The most reliable ID security services offer programs that can assist you in removing your personal information from sites that promote criminal sales and make your identity more secure with credit reporting agencies, the IRS, and many more.