Ransomware takes a computer, program, or file hostage. Once this happens, a ransom is demanded before the owner can regain control. Unfortunately, if the ransom is paid, the communication might end or the hacker will request more funds. In most cases, the control is never given back, so the data stolen is lost. While this can be devastating, there are ways to safeguard against it.
1. Only Click Trusted Links
Ransomware is often downloaded through links sent via email or in another format. Only click on trusted links. Avoid clicking anything that looks odd or that comes in an email with an unusual sender. Small Business IT Services can install spam controls to help keep these from getting to an inbox.
2. Know What’s Downloaded
When something is downloaded to the computer, make sure it’s what is expected. Only use trusted links to known websites to obtain a download link, and check any security information for the program before downloading and installing it.
3. Update Programs Regularly
Any programs on the computer should be updated as needed. Updates are designed with the latest in security in mind, so having them updated can help protect against known ransomware. While unknown and new ransomware may get through, this reduces the potential for anything to happen significantly.
4. Use Firewalls and Antivirus
Firewalls and antivirus programs can help keep ransomware from getting installed on a computer. They can detect any issues and provide a warning before something is installed. Keep these updated as well to ensure they work against the latest types of attacks.
5. Inform Employees of Safe Practices
Business owners will want to review safe practices like those listed here with employees and stress the importance of being careful. Many ransomware attacks for businesses come from a mistake made by an employee, so letting them know what to avoid and look out for can minimize the potential for this to happen.
6. Use Safe Practices on All Devices
It’s a myth that some devices are protected against viruses and ransomware. Any device has the potential to be hacked, so it’s a good idea to follow these safe practices on all devices, not just computers.
7. Use Script Blockers
Ransomware can be automatically downloaded in the background when a link is clicked, so it’s possible for it to be installed without the user knowing. Script blockers work with the browser to stop certain scripts from running on websites, reducing the potential for this to happen.
8. Backup All Crucial Files
Always keep crucial files backed up. If something would be devastating to lose, make sure it is accessible if it is lost. There are numerous ways to backup data, and industry experts recommend using more than one for redundancy.
9. Use Encrypted Connections on Public Wi-Fi
When using public wi-fi, it’s better to use a VPN or encrypted connections. Hacking can be easier to do on public wi-fi due to how much people share unintentionally. Protecting the device when on wi-fi limits the potential for anything to happen.
10. Have a Plan for If it Happens
Despite all precautions, ransomware may appear on a device and block access to crucial documents. Have a plan in place for what to do before this happens. This should include stopping doing anything on the computer and contacting a professional for assistance.
Ransomware can be devastating, especially if crucial data is lost, but there are ways to protect against it. Use these tips to minimize the potential for becoming a victim, and always contact a professional immediately if something happens and help is needed.