4 Things You Can Do Today to Protect Yourself from Ransomware Attacks

Posted on June 28, 2017 - by Darryl MacLeod - in Building Your InfoSec Program

With attacks like Petya and WannaCry, ransomware has reared its ugly head again. While a recent threat primarily targeted Windows systems, you should still be vigilant when it comes to suspicious activity on all of your systems. Preventative action by you and your employees can protect your computers and company data from being held by ransomware attackers.

Here are some quick tips for protecting yourself:

Ransomware Tip 1: Don’t Click It

Be wary of any unsolicited emails asking you to click on a link, or open an attachment. If it seems suspicious, don’t click it. Doing so could infect not only your computer but whatever network you’re a part of, that’s how malware spreads.

Ransomware Tip 2: Update Your Systems

Update your operating system and applications so they have the latest critical patches and/or security fixes. The easiest way to do this is to enable auto-updates. You should check and apply critical software updates on a regular basis to help protect you from future malware outbreaks.

Ransomware Tip 3: Use Antivirus Software

Antivirus software can block malware from downloading and prevent malware from installing on your computer. Make sure you update your antivirus software, and/or signatures, on a regular basis. While antivirus software is not always 100% effective since attackers are constantly developing new methods, you shouldn’t leave the door open for known threats.

Ransomware Tip 4: Backup Your Data

Create secure backups of important data to a separate storage device (such as an external hard drive) on a regular basis. You need to physically disconnect your storage device to avoid it from becoming infected with ransomware. Cloud storage (such as Google Drive or Dropbox) is another option. While a cloud service could still be targeted, they have much better resources to respond quickly to an attack. If you have your most important data saved on separate systems then you won’t be at risk of losing your data if you get infected.

We hope this information is helpful to you! Staying aware and keeping up to date will make you a big part of defending your company or small business against cyber threats!

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About the author

Darryl MacLeod is an information security expert, a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.