- 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.
Best Practices To Prevent Ransomware & 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. Never plug-in unknown USB devices.
- If you ever find an unknown USB, it’s best not to plug it into your PC.
- Most computers are set up to run programs on USB drives automatically, and this can start an uncontrolled chain reaction.
5. Verify authenticity and then download.
- Don’t download programs from suspicious websites.
- Most of the cracked and pirated software are riddled with ransomware.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Make use of a VPN service when using public Wi-Fi.
- Since access to public Wi-Fi is a necessity nowadays, using a VPN to encrypt your connections is vital.
- Unsecured Wi-Fi networks can be easily infiltrated by hackers to launch ransomware attacks.
- Some hotspots are set up by cybercriminals themselves! Beware!
11. 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.
12. 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?
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