Few cyber threats are more aggravating than ransomware. As the name suggests, this particularly nasty form of malicious software takes control of computers and literally holds their data for ransom. Additionally, the demands made by ransomware-happy cybercriminals range from excessive to outright weird. Needless to say, a ransomware infection can be downright dangerous for people whose computers contain a plethora of important financial documents and/or medical records. To ensure that your devices never fall prey to ransomware, you’ll need to educate yourself on why this aggressive variation of malware is able to infect computers in the first place.
Lack of Security Software
With viruses and malware becoming more prevalent by the minute, no computer can afford to be without reliable cybersecurity software. The right program can prevent virus infection, stop malicious software in its tracks and play a crucial role in ransomware removal. So if your computer currently lacks dedicated security software, there’s no time like the present to start shopping around for the right program. When exploring your options, look for programs that offer around-the-clock support, user-friendliness, and consistent updates. Since malicious software developers are constantly finding ways to get around roadblocks, it behooves cybersecurity companies to step up and hinder their efforts at every turn.
In order to get the most out of any online security program, you’ll need to install updates as they become available. These updates are created in response to newly-emerged threats, and the longer you wait to install them, the more vulnerable your computer becomes. Falling victim to ransomware infection as a result of ignoring a pertinent update is sure to prove more than a little frustrating. So the instant your software alerts you about a new update, don’t hesitate to install it.
Un-updated Operating Systems
Most operating systems feature a number of security protocols, and like dedicated security software, they need to be updated on a fairly consistent basis. However, since operating system updates can interfere with other tasks and take a while to install, many people allow them to pile up. When you’re engaged in a work project or surfing the web, being greeted with an O.S. update is likely to result in that updated being put on the backburner. After all, if you’re on a roll, why break your momentum? While this mindset is understandable, it’s hardly conducive to avoiding ransomware. Cybercriminals count on being people being lazy and ill-prepared, and one missed update can mean the difference between total security and a computer infected by ransomware.
Run Regular Security Scans
Some forms of ransomware don’t immediately make their presence known, so it’s possible to be infected without even knowing it. To nip this problem in the bud, run regular security scans with both your operating system and dedicated software. In addition to identifying ransomware, these scans will prove useful at sniffing out other threats and eliminating them before they have a chance to fully materialize. You can even set your O.S. and security software to run scans automatically. Additionally, since security scans can generally run in the background without interfering with other activities, you’d be wise to schedule multiple scans per day.
Be Mindful of Links
Like other forms of malicious software, ransomware is commonly spread through clicking links and opening downloaded files. With this in mind, avoid clicking links from suspicious sources. For example, if you receive an email from an untrusted or unfamiliar source, abstain from clicking any links or downloading any attachments contained therein. Even if a message appears to be from a friend, family member or work acquaintance, exercise caution when clicking links that strike you as questionable. You can save yourself a tremendous amount of hassle by putting your better judgment to good use.
Being hit with ransomware can be immensely frustrating – and financially trying – experience. Once ransomware has taken hold of your computer, your data is essentially at the mercy of cybercriminals. Furthermore, while some crooks will honor their word and return control of your computer once a ransom has been paid, there’s no guarantee that the people you’re dealing with will be this agreeable. Since the bad guys basically hold all the cards in a ransomware situation, it’s in your best interest to be proactive and take measures to avoid ransomware infection in the first place.