The stakes continue to get higher and higher as more people use the internet for business and commerce. Over time newer and more dangerous forms of virus software continues to put your data at risk.
Since 2005 the world has seen a rise in Ransomware cases which is a virus that extracts files from your computer system and locks them up in a password-protected folder. The only way to retrieve your data is by paying a ransom, and with the growth of cryptocurrency, it is easier for these hackers to request money anonymously.
In this article, I’m covering how ransomware can put your privacy at risk, how to prevent this from happening, and what to do if you find yourself at the mercy of a ransomware attack.
What is Ransomware?
At the most basic level, ransomware is a software that blocks access to essential data on your computer systems or mobile devices. When you go to access these files you most likely find a ransom letter that explains what you have to do to get the information back - this most often results in you having to pay in bitcoin or some form of anonymous currency to have your files returned.
Operating system companies are always on high alert for these types of viruses and issue regular updates when a discovery gets made. The problem is, most people ignore or postpone the upgrades and this leaves your computer system vulnerable to a ransomware attack.
A computer can become infected in a variety of ways, but this often happens as a result of opening something that had the ransomware attached to it. This virus comes in the form of email attachments, hidden installations on apps and software, extra pages and scripts, and much more.
How To Protect Yourself From Ransomware
You do not have to be afraid of ransomware attacks as long as you follow the necessary precautions shown above by Reputationdefender. People are thrifty and continually looking for a new way to extort you, so you need to protect yourself consistently.
Be Careful Where You Search
The best and most efficient way to keep yourself safe from ransomware is to stay out of the places where it hides. If you have emails you cannot identify - don’t open files attached to it, don’t click any links in the email. Delete the email and forget about it.
It’s always great to download free movies and music online, but I’m sure this has happened to you. You click the play button the video, and it takes you somewhere completely different - this is an example of how your computer can become infected.
After clicking that link, it is often challenging to get back to the original page because you are faced with pop-up after pop-up, and it forces you to stay there. While this is happening, the software could be searching your computer for files or data it can lock up. Be very careful with these types of websites.
Never download an app or software that does not have an easily identified source. If you want to download a game or program on your phone - do some research on the creator before you download it. If you see they have a bunch of other applications and are a legitimate business, then proceed. If not, think twice before installing that app.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi wherever possible. If you must, then consider investing in a cheap VPN for added protection. Public Wi-Fi is often unsecured and easily exploited by hackers for spreading nefarious software.
The other most effective way to keep yourself safe is to do what your computer and phone tell you to do. When it wants to update something that is for a good reason. The operating system company might have caught a whiff of a new virus or ransomware and is trying to protect you from it.
Do not postpone updates for longer than an hour. It does not take long for someone to get into your system and lock up your files. Stay updated and stay safe.
Back Up Files
Lastly, always backup your system as often as you can. Get in the habit of doing this on a regular basis. If you are backing up your files frequently, you won’t be as worried about losing things if you fall victim to a ransomware attack.
PixelPrivacy.com is all about making the world of online security accessible to everyone. We pride ourselves in writing guides that we’re certain even our own mothers could understand! Be sure to head over to our blog if you’re interested in keeping your private information just that: Private!
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