- If you haven’t been hit by ransomware till date, consider yourself very lucky. Over 2 million computers across 150 countries have been affected by it.
- Arguably, ransomware is the biggest of the cyber threats staring global computer and Internet users in the face.
- Backing up data regularly, not opening malicious email attachments, frequently updating the OS & installed applications and having a powerful antivirus software are some of the most important tips to avoid ransomware.
A Ransomware Scenario..
The common user experience when it comes to ransomware attack looks like this –
- You open an email or website then accidentally download and install a piece of software. You might not even notice that you’ve done that.
- For some time, nothing happens and everything is fine.
- Then, suddenly you see a notification that all your files are encrypted by a ransomware that wants money to return them back.
- You can’t believe what’s happening. You check to see if it’s true and notice that all your files refuse to open. You also see that the files are now updated with a new unknown file extension.
- You are hit!
Well, this was not some fictional scene from the Bond movie. This scenario is unfolding right now, somewhere in the world. Maybe even in your city or neighborhood.
At this very moment, someone is clicking a link in a spam email or website.
In a few seconds, all their data will be encrypted, and they’ll have just a few days to pay hundreds of dollars to get it back. Unless they have a backup, which most people don’t!
Best Ransomware Prevention Tips To Protect Your PC
Ransomware creators are remorseless. All they care about is money! Don’t get pinned down by them.
Take steps to prevent ransomware attacks and protect your computer. After all, prevention is better than cure.
1. Backup your important files regularly.
- Store one copy in the cloud (use Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, etc.) and the other on an offline physical media, such as a portable hard disk or USB drive.
- Backups can protect your data not just from ransomware but also from theft, fire, flood or accidental deletion.
2. Be careful when opening email attachments.
- 97% of phishing emails today carry ransomware.
- Think of every email attachment you get as unknown and potentially dangerous.
- Did your friend really send that? Do you have an account with that bank? Are you really expecting a package? When in doubt, leave it out.
3. Think twice before clicking.
- Dangerous links which can trick you to install ransomware can be received on social networks or instant messengers.
- And the senders are likely to be the people you trust, including your friends or colleagues whose accounts may have been compromised.
4. Verify authenticity and then download.
- Don’t download programs from suspicious websites.
- Most of the cracked and pirated software are riddled with ransomware.
5. Enable Ransomware Protection in Windows Defender.
- Just search for ‘Ransomware protection’ in the Windows Search bar and click on it.
- Switch the toggle option to ‘On’ under Controlled folder access. This enables the Ransomware protection!
- All programs that try to access your protected folders and files will now be monitored by the Windows.
6. Keep the OS, browser, and other programs updated.
- Ransomware exploits vulnerabilities in the OS, browser and other installed programs to compromise systems.
- Install all security updates for Windows and keep it up-to-date. Enable automatic updates by default on your device for all programs.
- Remove third-party plugins like Java and Flash. Or change the browser setting to ask you to activate these plugins whenever needed.
7. Enable the ‘Show File Extensions’ option.
- This is a native Windows function that allows you to easily tell what types of files are being opened.
- This will make it much easier for you to distinguish potentially malicious files.
8. Don’t give yourself more login privileges than you need.
- Don’t stay logged in as administrator longer than necessary. Logging in administrator role allows you to download programs and modify files.
- Browsing, opening email attachments or doing other regular activities as administrator makes it easy for ransomware to sneak in.
- Instead, create and use a guest account with limited privileges.
9. If you ever run a suspicious file and doubt it to be a ransomware, immediately disconnect.
- Typically, a ransomware takes some time to encrypt all your files.
- So, if you ever run a file that you suspect may be ransomware, then immediately turn off the Internet.
- This way, you might be able to stop the communication between the ransomware and its Command and Control server, mitigating the damage.
- This technique is definitely not foolproof, and you might not be that lucky, but disconnecting from the Internet may be better than doing nothing.
10. Use a powerful antivirus software and keep it updated.
- Running an advanced security software like Kaspersky Internet Security or Bitdefender Internet Security provides a multi-layered protection from ransomware.
- These programs are frequently upgraded with latest ransomware signatures and hence can identify and thwart ransomware attacks.
Free Anti-Ransomware Software: If you don’t want to buy an Internet security suite, you can alternatively pick the best free anti-ransomware software from here.
Free Ransomware Decryption Tools: Unfortunately, someday, if you find your computer to be infected by the ransomware, use the 100+ free decryptors available from here.
Take It From Us
If you fall victim to a ransomware attack, you will adopt all the above practices after paying up the cyber-criminal.
Why not do it now, and avoid a potential ransom situation?