Cyber Security Safety
What is Malware/Ransomware?
Malware is software that is installed on your computer without your permission and designed to cause harm and exploit systems and users. Malware can cause applications to fail, break system files, lockout users, leak data, steal passwords and more. Malware can be downloaded through legitimate software that has been infected, by visiting a compromised or malicious website, email and more.
In 2019, the biggest cyber threat was Ransomware. 2020 is projected to have even more attacks with more sophisticated ransomware software. This type of attack has caused major problems in Governments, Hospitals, Big Business’ and more. You can expect more home-user based campaigns in 2020. This malware tricks users into installing it but once installed, it will attack every system it can on the network, encrypting all applications and files rendering them useless. Ransomware will attempt to have the infected person or business pay a ransom in exchange for their data back. The ransom typically ranges from hundreds to thousands or more.
If you pay the ransom, you may or may not get your data back. You could even be re-infected in addition to possible identity theft and other problems. If you pay the ransom, you are helping the wrong doers with their campaign and helping fund future attacks.
DO NOT PAY THE RANSOM.
How can you protect yourself?
Keeping your computer maintained and updated so that it functions correctly is the first step in protecting yourself. If your computer is outdated in any way or not functioning correctly, it puts you at serious risk. Remove software you don’t use, keep your files organized (Not on desktop) and run system maintenance tasks. Your computer comes with several tools to help you with keeping it running correctly or you can seek professional help if you’re not sure how to do this. It is best to run maintenance tasks as often as possible and do a deeper cleaning every 8 to 15 months.
You should have security software on your computer. This helps prevent almost all attacks and keeps you and your data safer. Windows 10 comes with free security that is pretty decent called Windows Defender. If you want more specialized software, you can look into Trend Micro, Mcafee and Norton. Those are some of the big names out there. Try to avoid 3rd party FREE software as most of these are fakes. If possible, stick to reputable companies. Remember, using Mac or Linux does not mean you’re safe. You should use security on any operating system.
Some best practices are to have multiple layers of security to act as a kind of failsafe. If you are attacked by malware and it gets through your security software, what next. If your computer hasn’t been patched yet or if the patch isn’t available, it can cause bug problems for you and your data.
We suggest you install Ransomware protection from Acronis. Acronis will allow you to protect yourself in two big ways. It will scan your computer for ransomware attacks and it will try to stop them if they get through. If things still go wrong, it can quickly restore encrypted files, so you don’t have to worry about losing your data. Backups are critical so you definitely want to have some kind of backup solution. Acronis is safe from ransomware and a great way to protect yourself. What’s better? Acronis offers a FREE solution to protect you from Ransomware with 5GB of backup storage. Learn more at the following link.
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Almost every infection on a computer is caused by visiting a website that is infected or clicking links and downloading files from emails. If you do not know where the website goes or who sent the email, proceed with caution. We suggest you delete emails that look to good to be true, are full of spelling and grammar errors or require you to download files (especially with passwords). We also suggest that instead of clicking links, visit these websites by going directly to the website via your browser. If you get an email from your bank, don’t click any links, instead open your browser and visit their website directly.
Note: Just because the email comes from someone does not mean they are the sender. Their email could have been spoofed or hacked. Contact the real sender if things seem off.
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