Protecting Yourself from Ransomware

If you have been watching the news you have heard about WannaCry wreaking havoc worldwide. WannaCry is ransomware (malware that locks your keyboard or computer to prevent you from accessing your data until you pay a ransom) that has been infecting computers in over 150 countries by encrypting computer data and demanding that the users pay a ransom to get their data decrypted.

Ransomware is considered the biggest online threat to businesses and consumers today. According to Malwarebytes (a free and highly recommended addition to everyone’s computer security toolbox), WannaCry spread and self-propagated without any user interaction. It has the ability to find vulnerable un-patched computers on a network. However, other types of ransomware harvest email addresses to spam itself to other victims. Everyone is a potential victim!

Computer security steps for all:

  • Antivirus is still one of the best methods to protect yourself against known ransomware. There are a plethora of antivirus solutions available.
  • Anti-malware software such as Malwarebytes.
  • Keep up with updates for your operating system (Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.).
  • Performing regular backups of your data on an offline location (portable hard drive, or even burned onto DVDs) will lessen the pain if, despite your best efforts, you are infected with ransomware.

Recommended reading:
Ransomware : defending against digital extortion by Allan Liska & Timothy Gallo (O’Reilly, 2017).

Hacking for dummies by Kevin Beaver, CISSP (John Wiley & Sons, 2016).

Posted by
May 26, 2017

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