Ransomware: How to protect against it

Attackers these days use encryption that is as strong as that used by banks to protect payments by their clients, making recovery of files and devices more complicated and in the worst cases, even impossible. It is therefore cheaper to focus on prevention than to pay for the consequences. If devices are not properly protected there is a really high risk that if a ransom attack was to happen, important data stored on devices and on disks connected to them will be lost forever.

 

Back up important data regularly

The single best measure to defeat ransomware before it even starts its malicious activity, is to have a backup that regularly updated. Backing up your files is a good idea anyway., your computer or device could well fall victim to a spilt drink, even it avoids hackers. When you have backed up your data you should make sure your backup is kept separate from your computer. If it is on a USB stick or an external hard drive then you should keep it disconnected from the internet or it may also be attacked by hackers.

 

Be wary of suspicious emails and pop ups

Hackers can infect your devices via email attachments, always avoid clicking on links inside emails if you are unsure. Look carefully at email addresses of the sender to see if it is coming from a genuine address. Hover over hyperlinks (without clicking them) inside emails to see whether they direct you to suspicious websites. If an email appears to be from your bank, remember that they will NEVER ask for sensitive information like your passwords or security number. Hackers and ransomware developers often use pop-up windows that advertise software products that remove malware, do not click on these pop ups and close down the tab.

 

Passwords and Security Questions

Password protecting ALL your devices is a must, including your desktop, laptop, phone, smart watch, tablet…. EVERYTHING. Never use the same password for multiple devices no matter how much easier it is. Create difficult passwords and change them frequently. When creating passwords, it needs to be something that isn’t really known about you, using things such as pet’s names or your date of birth is so easy for people to find out.

A lot of people may not know that you can use spaces in your password, for example, “Erud IT 2020” which is a lot more secure and harder to guess than, “erudit2020”. A lot of hacking related breaches use either stolen passwords and/or weak or guessable passwords. If you have an apple device such as an iPhone or iPad, always have a six-digit numeric code instead of a four-digit one. A four-digit PIN has 10’000 possible combinations whereas a six-digit PIN has 1 MILLION possible combinations.

It Is so incredibly easy for people to find out the answers to simple security questions. We share so much of our lives online that one quick search and anyone could find out your dog’s name or your mother’s maiden name. when answering security questions go with the complete opposite to what the answer really is, just don’t forget that’s how you answered or next time you get asked you may have a problem.

Two- Factor Authentication

Finally, if your password was to get hacked, it could expose you to viruses, malware and data breaches. The password may once have been good enough, but the reality is a password is the weakest link in the security chain when used alone. As said in the last point security question answers are relatively easy to find out now that we share every detail of our lives online. Pretty much anyone who we interact with on a regular basis can find out the answers to common security questions. This is where two- factor authentication comes in. if you already have the basis password and security measures, two- factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to make it more difficult for hacker to gain access to your account. Always remember to use two of the three: something you KNOW, something you HAVE, something you ARE.