Chances are you know someone, or some company, that has been a victim of a ransomware attack. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system or data until a sum of money is paid. If you haven’t been hit by ransomware personally, you’re very lucky. Here are some proactive steps to protect your computers and files. If you do get infected with ransomware, unless you’ve got back-ups, you’re left with either paying or losing your locked up files forever.
- Back up your files regularly and keep a recent backup off-site.
The only backup you’ll ever regret is one you left for another day. The single biggest thing that you against ransomware is having a regularly updated backup.
- Be very cautious about opening unsolicited attachments.
Most Windows ransomware is embedded in documents spread as email attachments.
- Don’t give yourself more login power than needed.
Don’t stay logged in as an administrator any longer than necessary. Avoid browsing, opening documents or other regular work activities while working as administrator.
- Update your system.
When you apply security patches, you give the cyber criminals less possibilities of compromising your system with ransomware.
- Use a trustworthy security suite.
It is always good to have both anti-malware software and a software firewall to help you identify threats or suspicious behavior.
- Segment the company network.
Isolate functional zones with a firewall, e.g., the client and server networks, so systems and services can only be accessed if really needed.
- Disconnect from Wi-Fi or unplug from the network immediately.
If you open a file that you suspect may be ransomware, but you have not yet seen the typical ransomware screen, if you move extremely fast you might be able to stop the communication with the server before your files are completely encrypted.
- Use System Restore to get back to a known-clean state.
If you have System Restore enabled on your Windows machine, you might be able to take your system back to a known-clean state.