Ransomware has actively been used by hackers over the years to execute their attacks. Ransomware is malware that has the capability to encrypt sensitive files until a ransom is paid. In most cases, this malicious software is used to extort funds from victims as the software lock their important files and deny them access unless a decryption key is provided.
The attack mainly contains instructions on how to pay the ransom and the amount to pay. Organizations that have backups of their data usually ignore the request to pay a stated amount. This malicious software is by far the most dangerous tool in the hands of hackers and capable of infecting any device. Fortunately, ransomware can be prevented if certain rules are kept and guidelines are followed.
Do Not Open Emails or Attachments from Untrusted Source
In most of the analyzed incidents of ransomware attacks, hackers used emails to deliver malware to their targets. The emails can be in many forms, and hackers mostly convince targets to click on a malicious link or attachment within the email.
Clicking on these can simply run the malicious macro on your computer. This will allow malware to spread into your system and encrypt your files. To be safe from ransomware attacks, always check whether an email is correct before opening or clicking on any attached file.
Most emails may be correct but the links may be suspicious. Contact the sender to verify the link. To be very secured, only open emails from people you know or from verified sources.
To protect your data from being encrypted by malicious software, you need to be careful with the kind of websites you visit. Some few months ago, Google research team released a report on how hackers used a modified website to infect iPhones with malware.
This malware can monitor your communication, steal sensitive information or even encrypt your data. Your first rule to stay safe from this attack is to cancel your request anytime a website you intend to visit redirects you to an unverified site.
Also, anytime you click on an unverified link and an automatic download appears on your browser, quickly cancel it and run for your life. Ransomware attackers will encrypt or steal your file with malicious software, ask you to pay the ransom and may come back to demand more money with the copy of files at their disposal.
Backup Your Important Files
Backing up your important files is by far the best decision to make to stand a chance against ransomware attacks. Surprisingly, a lot of government organizations and private institutions do not consider this step, and always end up paying a huge amount of money as ransom to hackers.
When you have a copy of your files in an external drive, you can resume your usual work when hackers encrypt the copy on your computer with this potent malicious software. Always make sure that your backup is safe, and do not leave it plugged on your machine when not using it. It is worth noting that files on your external drive will be encrypted when it is plugged on your computer at the time ransomware hits your system.
Never Use Public Wifi for Important Transaction (Avoid Malicious Software)
It is all nice when using public wifi. But understand that using public wifi makes you prone to ransomware attacks. It is easy for any hacker to infect your computer operating system with ransomware. For this reason, avoid using public wifi in making confidential transactions. Instead, use a secured Virtual Private Network (VPN) to make confidential transactions.
Do Not Give Your Personal Information Out to Avoid Malicious Software
Another proactive measure to take to ensure your data are safe from ransomware attacks is to avoid giving your personal information out to strangers. Hackers are no magicians. They only launch an attack based on the information they have.
Most of them may impersonate your service providers and ask you of your personal information which may be used for their targeted phishing attacks. They may use the obtained information to convince you through an email message to click on a malicious link. Always avoid giving your information out. You can follow up at any of the centres of your service providers to give them whatever information they want to confirm in person.
Do not forget to update your security tool to the latest release. The effort to follow the above-listed measures is less expensive compared to the cost you may incur when malicious software encrypts your file. Some hackers may not ask for ransom, but may silently upload your personal information on the dark web and sell them to other criminals.
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