How to Protect Yourself From the Dangers of Ransomware

ransomwareTechnology has helped us in many ways when it comes to our working and personal lives. It has made it easier to communicate with each other, work from home, save time and much more. However, there are of course some downsides which come into the mix too.

In particular, in recent years we’ve seen hacker attacks become increasingly prevalent, especially in the form of ransomware. This kind of targeted attack means that people end up with their computers crashed and data stolen and/or locked until they hand over a ransom.

With so many threats circling these days, and cybercriminals constantly finding new ways of gaining access to systems, it is imperative that all consumers take steps to protect themselves. Read on for some ways in which you can keep hackers and ransomware at bay today.

Install Quality Security Software

One of the simplest ways to protect yourself, and also one of the best, is to install quality security software onto all your computers. There are lots of great products on the market these days, for affordable prices, but make sure you select something that offers comprehensive coverage.

For instance, you’ll want a product that provides antivirus and internet security and keeps your privacy safe when you’re browsing and buying online. Select something that covers against ransomware specifically, of course, and that generally protects against all sorts of spyware, spam and malware.

Use Decent Passwords

Another tip that should be top of mind (but that many people are lax on) is using decent passwords on devices and all the accounts you log into online. Always create codes that hackers won’t be able to guess. These need to be a minimum of eight characters in length and made up of a variety of letters (upper-case and lower-case), numbers and symbols.

The passwords you put in place shouldn’t be based on any public details. For example, steer clear of creating codes based around your name, birthdate or address; the name of your children, pets or business; or any kind of details you might have posted online on your website or social media profiles over the years.

Update Software and Firmware Regularly

update

Next, don’t forget to keep the software and firmware on your gadgets updated, too. Hackers can more readily gain access to your systems if you enable security gaps to crop up over time through vulnerabilities. Avoid this by updating things like operating systems, security software, firewalls, browsers, apps, plug-ins, games and so on as soon as manufacturers release new versions.

It helps if you set up all your systems to update automatically, whenever new versions become available. This way, you won’t have to remember to run updates manually yourself. It will also mean that updates happen ASAP. If you have to remember to do it, and have to stop and take the time during your busy schedule to do so, it’s likely you’ll put off the job for days, weeks or even months, which isn’t ideal.

Steer Clear of Risky Online Links and Attachments

Most cybercriminals get in when users click on fraudulent links or open dodgy attachments or other messages. Hackers understand that many people don’t pay a lot of attention to what they open or click on online.

To stay safe then, never open an email from someone you don’t know. If an email does seem to be legitimate, check the email address it has been sent from. Cybercriminals often set up messages made to look like they come from legitimate organizations (think banks, telecommunications firms and the like) but which are really fake and contain nasty viruses.

A giveaway can be that the email is sent from a strange address. Also, be on the lookout for logos that don’t seem right, bad spelling or grammar or requests asking you to reply with sensitive, personal information. Make sure you never log into your accounts using your username and passwords on sites you have clicked through to. Instead, type the URL addresses directly onto your browser.

Be careful about the links you click on when on social media sites and other websites too. Many hackers create scandalous headlines to get people to click through, but when they do, they end up with a virus or are scammed in some other way. This in turn gives hackers access to systems and the ability to hit you with ransomware.