How to protect yourself from Ransomware attacks

Here are four other simple things you can do today to protect yourself.

  1. Update Windows XP or any other older Microsoft operating systems in order to limit your vulnerability. In fact, you should always update all your software. Links to the Microsoft updates can be found here: customer guidance.
    In general, always download the latest version of a software once it becomes available.
  2. Back up your files remotely every day, but only on a hard drive that is not connected to the internet. So long as you back up files on an external hard drive, you won’t lose any information if hit by a ransomware attack.
  3. Never open a suspicious email attachment. And never download an app that you haven’t verified with an actual store. Read reviews before installing programs.
  4. Finally, antivirus programs have the ability to scan files to see if they might contain ransomware. Make use of them before downloading.
  5. Consider installing Microsoft Office viewers: They allow you to see what a Word or Excel document looks like without macros. The viewers don’t support macros so you can’t enable them by mistake, either.
  6. Be very careful about opening unsolicited attachments. Most Windows ransomware in recent months has been embedded in documents distributed as email attachments.
  7. Don’t give yourself more login power than necessary: Don’t stay logged in as an administrator any longer than necessary. Avoid browsing, opening documents or other regular work activities while logged in as administrator.
  8. Patch, patch, patch. Malware that doesn’t come in via document macros often relies on bugs in software and applications. When you apply security patches, you give the cyber criminals fewer options for infecting you with ransomware.
  9. Train and retrain employees in your business: Your users can be your weakest link if you don’t train them how to avoid booby-trapped documents and malicious emails.
  10. Segment the company network: Separate functional areas with a firewall, e.g., the client and server networks, so systems and services can only be accessed if really necessary.
  11. Important: 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.” Backups can protect your data against more than just ransomware: theft, fire, flood or accidental deletion all have the same effect. Make sure you encrypt the backed up data so only you can restore it.

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