Last week, a ransomware virus spread across the globe affecting 200,000 computers in over 150 countries. Ransomware is a 10-year-old software virus that is often transmitted through an email or pop-ups. Once opened, the software will then lock up the user’s data and threaten to destroy it if the “ransom” asked for is not paid. Institutions that have generally been attacked are hospitals, universities, blue-chip companies and major businesses, but many people are worried about their personal laptops and PCs. Here is how you can protect yourself from ransomware or malware.
Software companies work around the clock to try and capture weak spots in their programs. It is important for the user to update software whenever prompted. In the most recent attack, Microsoft had sent out a software patch for the ransomware vulnerability weeks before and if users had simply updated their PC’s, the outbreak could have been avoided completely. You can set your device to update automatically. This will ensure that your computer is being updated regularly and you can hope to avoid any virus outbreaks.
If you think that updates are not enough and want extra security, you can download antivirus software onto your device. This kind of software is made to prevent malware from infecting your computer. The same principle applies however-the software must be up to date for it to work effectively. As hackers and cybercriminals are always finding new weaknesses to attack, malware software works to keep up and must be updated.
Another way to prevent any malware from attacking your computer is to backup all of your data. You can do this by purchasing an external hard drive or simply copying your data into a cloud based storage system. This is something you should think about doing anyway, in the event your computer crashes.
Know how to spot suspicious emails. Spammers will pull a familiar name from your contact list so that you click on the email, but look at what addresses on tacked on. They will be dubious and odd. The same goes for the links in the emails. Look for typos and grammatical errors. Remember that institutions will never ask for sensitive data so if an email looks like it comes from your bank or credit card company, watch for these types of questions.