Ransomware is a sophisticated type of cyberattack, and undoubtedly one of the main data security challenges facing organizations of all sizes and types. Although simple in concept, the effects of this cyberattack can be extremely costly. Ransomware is a form of malware (malicious program) that cybercriminals use to demand payment from victims. It uses encryption to keep users from accessing their data or their devices.
A perfect example of ransomware is the 2017’s WannaCry ransomware attack that infected more than 230,000 devices across 150 countries within 24 hours. This cybercrime led to approximately $4 billion in economic losses around the globe. Canon is the latest victim of a coordinated ransomware attack, which may have led to data loss. The attack seems to have brought down several of the company’s sites, including its official website.
With the number of ransomware attacks constantly rising, you need more than just a simple antivirus software solution to be safe. You need the right tools, consciousness, and knowledge. Here 6 tips to protect your devices from ransomware and other sophisticated cyberattacks.
#1- Update Your Systems Regularly
Cybercriminals look for vulnerabilities in systems and software to attack your devices with ransomware and other malicious programs. Updating your systems and apps regularly is a surefire way to resolve most of these vulnerabilities instantly. For example, some of the companies became victims of the 2017’s WannaCry cybercrime just because their Windows Operating systems were out-of-date.
#2- Practice Caution When Using the Internet
Be cautious every time you’re browsing the web. Learn to identify symptoms of malicious programs and online sites that are notorious for distributing them.
- Ensure your browser extension is always secure
- Avoid clicking on any pop-ups. Ensure you identify the right “X,” and then click on it to close the pop-up. Sometimes, cybercriminals introduce fake “X” just to confuse you. That’s why you need to be careful when closing pop-ups.
- Before clicking on any link, right-click on it or place your cursor over it to get an idea of where it will take you.
- Always check out the URL of the websites that you regularly visit because even genuine sites can be hacked.
#3- Invest in a Good Antivirus Software and VPN
A piece of reliable security software is one of the most sweeping protections against any malware. A premium antivirus program paired with a reputable VPN like NordVPN will make it extremely hard for anyone to gain unauthorized access to your devices. If you’re using these tools to secure your business, you’ll need to have your employees trained on cybersecurity, as well.
#4- Keep Regular Secure Backups of Your Sensitive Data
Regularly and effectively backing up your data gives you a chance to rebuild your systems from scratch in case of a ransomware attack or security breach. You can back up your files on hard drives and keep them in a safe place away from the business premises. These hard drives should be hooked up to the computer only when you are creating backups, which can be at least weekly. This will make sure they can’t be hacked by any cybercriminal who successfully hacks the main computer.
#5- Do Your Due Diligence
Before downloading any application or software, research widely about it. Check out reviews and testimonials from both current and previous users. Don’t dwell on only positive reviews; try to look for negative ones, as well. What are users saying about the software? Are they complaining about the performance? Has anyone accused the software of being a malicious code? These questions will help you identify malicious programs and avoid them. It’s also important to investigate the most serious breaches that are likely to attack your operating system, programs, or devices. Knowing them will help you stay away from them.
#6- Use Secure Passwords and Change them Regularly
Always create strong passwords that you can easily remember. Consider using a password manager to ensure your passwords are always strong and hack-proof. If you detect malware on your computer, remove it immediately, and then change your passwords.
The Parting Note
Threats to sensitive personal and company data by ransomware attacks are evolving rapidly. Businesses and individuals need to be smart and proactive in coming up with measures to prevent these attacks. They need to research the latest threats and adopt safe cybersecurity practices.
Guest post courtesy of Jennifer Monroe