Recently, a major virus attack took place termed “ Ransomware “, which encrypts data in the computer and unlocks it, only if a specific amount of money is paid – usually through Bitcoins, to avoid identity being revealed. Here in this article, you will learn how to how to protect PC from Ransomware. You can assume your computer’s data has been taken hostage and the only way to get it back is to pay, or else say goodbye. It was one of the most largest cyber-attack that took place, as it effected over 70 countries, especially large organizations or businesses around the world such as hospitals (a shit move to be honest), which resulted in current operations to be halted.
The ransomware program that was used, is specifically called “ WannaCry “, which asks for a minimum price about $300 but the more late you are to pay, the more the price increases. This ransomware took advantage of a flaw in Windows, which was discovered by the NSA & later exposed to the world by hackers later on. But just because you don’t use Windows, doesn’t mean you are safe. As chances are you can become victim to Ransomware even if using another operating system, such as: Android, Linux, Mac etc.
The more you use the Internet, the more chances you’ve to install a Malware unintentionally. For ransomware to work, hackers have to go through the effort of installing malware into the computer. They achieve this most commonly, by phishing, sending out emails or baiting users to download it unknowingly.
Although the ransomware was eliminated through a kill switch, it still managed to do a lot of damage. It won’t be long before they re-write the code and execute it again. Even if you’re an individual user and not some big company, there are still chances you can be the next target. Hence better to stay safe by knowing how to protect PC from ransomware.
How to protect PC from Ransomware
1. Update your PC
Make sure to update your PC. This is important, as hackers usually hack by finding loopholes or flaws – which are later discovered by the operating system makers and fixed. It’s your job to download the patch as soon as possible, to protect pc from ransomware and avoid your system from being vulnerable. It may hard to keep up with updates, hence make sure to enable Auto updates if your Operating system allows that and make sure to update on time.
2. Backup your Data
This one is the most obvious. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Although backing up data may seem time consuming, but it is worth it in the long run for protecting pc from ransomware and only when you lose your data, you will be able to realize its worth. You should make a habit of backing up your important data to external hard drive or a USB, as they are not connected to the Internet. Make sure to remove it from PC after you’re done backing it up, so it won’t be able to get corrupted if your computer does get infected. For more convenience, you can go for cloud-storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneCloud, SpiderOak etc. Just because your data is stored in the cloud, doesn’t mean that it will be safe from hackers. HOWEVER, they obviously have much better security and resources than you do and if such situation does arise, they will be able to combat it quickly.
3. Use Anti-Virus Software
The first thing you should do after installing Windows is to install a genuine and paid Anti-virus to protect PC from ransomware. Most free anti-viruses may seem they’ve a lot to offer, but they’re usually no good. Although even paid anti-virus software may not be able to catch all viruses, but paid are still better than free anti-viruses. Also make sure that your Anti-virus software also comes with an browser extension, so that it is able to anticipate suspicious download links or websites. Also if you’re using Windows, you probably have Windows Defender, make sure to have that turned on too. Two anti-virus softwares installed in one system may slow down your computer, hence make sure you’ve a good PC or just install one.
Even if you do become a victim to ransomware, if you have backup – it should be no problem, however if you don’t, then it’s upto you to decide whether you want to pay or lose the data. You might find de-encrypters, but beware as they might end up infecting your system even more.