What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is malicious software, created by cybercriminals and spread by several different methods, including email.
The software is designed to trick you into running it so that it can run in the background on your computer and encrypt all your documents, photos, databases and other types of file on your computer and possibly on your network.
The cyber criminals then offer you the opportunity to purchase the encryption keys to give you access back to your data. The problem is, that being criminals, they will not always honour their part of the bargain. Some will take your money and not give you the keys.
What steps can I take to defend myself?
The first step is to be aware of the tricks that the criminals will use to get you to run the software. Emails with invoices, credit notes, or parcel missed delivery notifications that you weren’t expecting are common methods used by the criminals: don’t open the attachments and ignore them.
The second step is to always use an antivirus product. Windows 10 comes with free windows defender antivirus. If you use a different version of windows, there are many providers that offer free versions of their products to give you a minimum level of protection. Paid products often offer an enhanced level of protection, for example additional checks on web pages visited.
The third step is to keep your operating system up to date. Windows updates can be an irritation, but they do an important job: protecting against security flaws which have been identified by Microsoft and third-party research. Not updating your PC or server is one way you can put yourself at risk of ransomware and other types of virus or malware.
The final step is the most important one. Backup your data! The cybercriminals are clever: even after taking all the steps above, you may be unfortunate enough to be a victim of ransomware that has not been picked up by antivirus yet. If this happens, the only guaranteed fix is a reliable backup of your data. To be truly secure, this needs to be a backup which is offline (not left plugged into your computer or connected to your network), or an internet off site backup such as Microsoft Azure Cloud Backup.
Of course, if all your data is stored in Microsoft OneDrive (available as part of Office 365), Microsoft will automatically alert you to a ransomware attack and automatically restore your data from their backups.
To talk to us about cloud backup solutions, Office 365, or anything else, get in touch today at email@example.com