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Protect against and avoid ransomware

How to Protect Your Computer from Ransomware

Several antivirus companies have come up with ways to remove the virus, but that doesn’t decrypt the files. Unfortunately, you don’t have many options unless you have backups of your data, but you can protect your computer with some common sense.

First, don’t ever download from a site that tells you software on your computer is outdated. Websites aren’t able to detect outdated software unless you give the website permission to read your hard drive. If you think your software needs an update, go to the official product developer’s site and download it directly from there.

Next, always keep the latest antivirus definitions installed on your computer to defend against all types of malware. The one main issue with ransomware is that once you get infected, there is nothing you can do to reverse the damage. It’s better to be proactive with antivirus updates than wait until you’ve already become a victim.

Finally, always keep backups of your files. Hackers know that most people don’t keep backups. Even some businesses fail to keep regular backups, and it’s a big mistake that usually leads to some kind of data loss. Always keep regular backups in a safe place. Note that you can’t keep them on your local hard drive, because these backups might also get encrypted. One safe place is keeping them in the cloud such as Google Drive or Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

Viruses are becoming stronger and more resilient to common defences. The best defence is to use common sense and avoid downloading executable files unless you absolutely need to. Keep your antivirus software updated and never installs software if you’re unsure of its security.

Avoiding Ransomware

Global cybercrime agencies say users already infected with the Cryptolocker ransomware have a two-week window to remove it

Ensure your operating system and security software are regularly updated.

  • Consider investing in substantial anti-virus tools, including specialist Cryptolocker prevention kits.
  • Don’t open attachments from unknown sources or from emails that appear to be from a legitimate source but are suspicious.
  • Regularly back up important data and keep it within unconnected storage.
  • Consider moving more data to cloud services offered by Google and others.
  • Businesses should check incident response and resilience protocols to monitor for infection.
  • Ensure staff are educated in good computing practices and how to spot threats.
  • Use software to identify if a computer is infected. If so, disconnect it from networks immediately and seek professional advice.
  • If you believe you have been compromised, change online account passwords and network passwords after removing the system from the network.
  • Block .exe files over email, including within ZIP files. This can usually be done using an anti-spam system.