Protect your data against ransomware

Ransomware

The cyber attacks today again the NHS, Telefonica and several other global companies, brings home the damage that ransomware can do when your computer is attacked.

Ransomware is a virus that once installed on your computer, will encrypt all files. The virus is normally contained within a malicious email or fake update. Once your files are encrypted, there is currently no recovery method. A “ransom” message will be displayed on your screen asking for a set fee to be paid in order to unlock your files. The ransom to the NHS today was $300 per infected pc. Even if this ransom is paid, there is no guarantee files will be decrypted. The ransom is also requested in Bitcoin, a difficult internet currency to trace.

Ways to protect your data

    • Always ensure you have up to date anti-virus software. PC Repair Leeds has used and recommended AVG for many years.Whilst we recommend the paid edition, the free version is better than no ant-virus.
    • Use a secondary anti-malware program. We recommend Malwarebytes. The free version allows the user to manually update and scan for malware that might have got past your anti-virus.
    • Always check thoroughly any attachments or links within emails. Even if you read your email on a website rather than downloading via Outlook or Mail, any attachment or link can self install the virus on your computer. Emails are the most common way to spread viruses.
    • Ensure you have a more than one backup . We suggest purchased version of a Cloud backup solution. PC Repair Leeds recommends Dropbox but there many other solutions such as Carbonite, Microsoft One Drive. Whilst a ransomware attack will still encrypt your local computer files, including the local cloud folder, the cloud provider will be able to roll back your data by a matter of days or hours. Also ensure you have a separate copy of your data held on a USB drive. Only plug the drive into your computer when you are performing the backup. When not in use, unplug the USB drive. (see our Backup page here)
  • Have an I.T professional perform a full maintenance on your computer, every 6 -12 months. A maintenance will help remove any latent malware.

If your computer gets infected, always have an I.T professional completely wipe your computer. PC Repair Leeds have seen situations where a ransom has been paid, the data decrypted, only to be encrypted a week later.

A ransomware virus can have serious ramifications. Not only will your data be lost, but pertinent data such as credit card and password information can be compromised. Take a minute now to check you have done everything to protect your data. Once its gone, its gone.

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