Burton Kelso, Tech Expert
Can I Stop Ransomware From Infecting My Devices?
I’m sure you have read about the ransomware attacks that occurred against the Colonial Pipeline that caused them to shut down production. This attack was the reason behind people hoarding gasoline a situation that looked similar to last year's toilet paper panic at the beginning of the pandemic. Ransomware attacks have been on the rise for years now and it is not showing any signs of slowing down and everyone is a target. If you want to keep your personal or business devices safe from ransomware attacks, check out these quick and easy tips that will help you keep safe.
Every time I talk about cybercrime, I always have to state this statistic. 99% of Cybercrime Requires user interaction. This means as long as you're not clicking on links in emails or visiting questionable websites, all of your devices are protected from most cyber threats. If you're wondering how criminals choose their victims in ransomware attacks here are the things that might make you the target:
1. Using older computers are other tech devices.
2. Your device has outdated software
3. You use older operating systems and web browsers that can no longer get updates.
4. Cyber Criminals suspect you don't perform regular backups
5. Criminals look at businesses and individuals who have a weak cyberinfrastructure and are prone to attack.
Prevention is better than protection when it comes to ransomware. These attacks were originally designed to prevent access to your files, but now criminals are stealing your data as well as ensuring you pay the ransom. Here's how you can keep safe:
1. Update your tech. It doesn’t matter what type of device you use, make sure it’s up to date. Many of you think you’re immune from these types of attacks because you’re not using a Windows device. Even though this attack was designed to infect Windows computers, it does not mean you’re immune. Verify automatic updates are enabled on your device. Also, make sure you’re running the latest Operating System for your device. Cybercriminals will target older technology because they know the manufacturer no longer provides security updates for these devices.
2. Start using an automatic cloud backup service, today! The most dangerous aspect of Ransomware is its ability to infect computers and devices connected to a network. You make backup your information to an external hard drive, or to a cloud service like DropBox or OneDrive, but guess what? Ransomware can infect those files as well … yes, it can get to your cloud data. How does a cloud backup service help you? Most cloud services like Carbonite (www.carbonite.com) keep MULTIPLE copies of your files across many services across the globe. If your backup gets infected with Ransomware, your cloud backup provider can simply restore your files BEFORE the infection happened.
3. Use common sense when it comes to email. Hackers aren’t concerned about getting into your computers or network anymore. They get your information by phishing scams that are socially engineered to make you react to what is being said in an email. These emails come in the form of mail from your friends or from companies you have grown to trust. Always verify the email by looking at the email address. If you get an odd email from a friend, pick up the phone and ask if they meant to send you the letter in question. If you aren’t sure, just simply delete the email. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
4. Use Anti-Virus software on your devices. Anti-Virus software isn’t full proof and for the most part, one isn’t better than the other. It’s something you need to have on your device (meaning Windows, Macintosh, Smartphone, or Tablet). The anti-virus that is actively scanning your device decreases the chances you will fall victim to a ransomware scam.
5. Never Pay The Ransom. Yes paying the ransom, MIGHT get your files back and prevent criminals from sharing your personal information, but it's never a guarantee.
So what happens if you get infected with ransomware? Unplug your desktop computer and take the battery out of your laptop. Disconnect your computer from your wired or wireless network and unplug it from the wall. Ransomware users can remotely power up computers. Give us a call here at Integral. We may not be able to retrieve those lost files, but we can make sure you don’t fall victim to a ransomware scam.
Ransomware isn't going anywhere. Make sure you're taking steps to stop these attacks before they happen. No one wants to be in a position where they lose access to their important documents, photos, and videos.
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