Ransomware has become one of the most dangerous threats on the web. It stops you from using the infected device until you pay the ransom.
It is a malicious program which encrypts all your files, making them inaccessible and demands money with a countdown timer to decrypt them. After the deadline, it will threaten to delete all your data.
Sometimes criminals will ask ransom in the form of dollars or digital currencies like bitcoins. But no one sure that whether you will regain the system access or not even after the payment.
Ransomware scams have grown over the past few years. WannaCry and Petya are latest in the list.
How they attack your computer?
Malware that is disguised as a legitimate file secretly installs on your device – through a web page link, email attachment or download option- and silently runs in the background until the last stage of infection.
These are the 12 tips to prevent Ransomware from infecting your electronic device.
1. Update your OS and apps regularly
Always update your operating system to the latest version in order to fill the security loopholes if any. Update apps, web browsers at regular intervals as hackers are exploiting the software bugs to find a place in your system. Tighten your cyber security with a mandatory software update.
2. Use Anti-Virus software
Find an advanced anti-virus tool that matches to your system requirements. It will automatically scan your attachments, downloaded files and blocks them if any suspicious activities found. It will also warn you on phishing links, malicious websites and deny access before they infecting on your computer.
3. Say no to links from unknown senders
You may get hundreds of emails every day with attachments and external links. They will pretend as sent by your acquaintances, reliable source or a banking institution. Before clicking on the link, check sender’s email address first. If you are not sure about the authenticity, contact the person to know whether it’s actually sent by them. The same method should be applied to social media and chat links also.
Google will automatically send bad emails to the Spam folder. Never deal with them and report dubious emails as spam as soon as you found them.
4. Enhance your security using anti-spam and firewall settings
Trojans are programs and hide behind .exe, .vbs and .scr file extensions. Block them from opening on your device. Make sure that firewall is turned on and it is configured to meet the latest cyber threats.
5. Avoid unsafe, fake websites
iTunesCustomer Service vs iTunes Customer Service. Do you know which is the original website?
The second one. The first one removed a space in between the words and disguised as the original. You will find thousands of such sites on the internet. In some other sites, you will get continuous pop-ups or new windows on each mouse click. They are unsafe and may contain malware. Stay away from all those sites.
Install security add-ons to prevent pop-ups and secured browsing.
6. Download apps from trusted websites
Always download apps from official, trusted websites. There’re several web stores that offer free, cracked versions of premium Softwares. No one will do anything for free. They may have inserted hacking codes to collect user data and gain your system access at a later moment.
7. Avoid fake warnings
Some websites offer a free scan of your system and warn about outdated software, drivers etc on the device. Mostly it will be fake. Use trusted tools to make a thorough scanning of your system components. Visit official website of the device manufacturer for clarifications and downloads.
Backup your operating system and files at frequent intervals. You can save them in the cloud, local storage or both. So it’s easy for you to recover the system if any bad things happened because of cyber attacks and hard disk failures. Make sure that your backup is working as per the schedule and the copy successfully stores on the destination.
9. Strong password
Use a strong password which is difficult to guess for all your accounts including internet banking, email, social media and card related accounts. Never share them with anyone even though how much familiar they are.
10. Turn off the internet
If you found a strange activity on the machine, instantly turn off the internet connection. Contact the device customer care or local service center or refer online manual on how to restore the system.
11. Turn off Autoplay
Hackers may initiate attacks using external media files on USB pen drives, memory cards etc. Disable autoplay to prevent such attacks.
12. Turn off unused wireless connections
Turn off WiFi, Bluetooth and infrared ports which are not in use.