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Protect Yourself Against Ransomware (Part 1)

Protect Yourself Against Ransomware (Part 1)

Proactive Computer Repair and Protection for Businesses in Metro Vancouver Fraser Valley and Abbotsford

Proactive Computer Repair and Protection for Businesses in Metro Vancouver Fraser Valley and Abbotsford

PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST RANSOMWARE (Part 1)

When a virus takes hold of your computer’s functions, the experience can be frustrating and debilitating. But imagine being faced with a locked PC, donning a screen message that demands money in exchange for your most important files.  Your feelings of frustration would be met with the heavy realization that pictures of your children or your top client’s account details may be gone forever.  Earlier in this series, we introduced you to the threat of ransomware and we outlined some of the qualities that attackers hope to find in their victims.  In the next 2 posts we’ll cover our top 5 things you can do to protect your files.

NUMBER 1:  RELY ON ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE  

This is probably the most common way that people try to protect themselves.  It can be effective but this requires that your antivirus measures are completely up-to-date (a feat that is nearly impossible when you consider the rate at which new malware is developed and released).  Even the top names in virus protection aren’t 100% guaranteed to catch everything.  Some companies have even gone so far as to produce ‘fixes’ that can be stored on USB sticks.  These fixes can be plugged into afflicted computers and rescue them from ransomware in those desperate moments.  But even these must be kept up-to-date, which can be difficult and expensive. Relying on antivirus measures has the potential to be effective but there is little that the average person can do to improve its reliability.



EVEN THE TOP NAMES IN VIRUS PROTECTION AREN’T 100% GUARANTEED TO CATCH EVERYTHING



NUMBER 2:  BACK IT UP

Running system backups is both a proactive and a reactive measure that you might take against the threat of ransomware.  Proactively, it anticipates an attack and puts you in a good position. Reactively, it is only really useful once your PC is taken hostage.  A backup is, in a nutshell, a preventative measure that restores your system after an attack, rather than preventing the attack itself.

This simple, affordable solution is, unfortunately, overlooked all too often.  Once set up, running regular backups is a process that requires very little input from you.  We recommend running system backups every hour and setting up daily offsite backups.  These offsite backups are extremely useful when it comes to ransomware and other malware because they are not connected to your workstation by any physical means.  By backing up every hour, you reduce the possibility of lost work or re-entry because every file in your office has a restore point that can be reverted to. Translated:  Ransomware can’t touch your files.

So what do you do when ransomware has commandeered your workstation?  Simple:  nothing.  After the clock runs out and you lose your files, you can breath a sigh of relief and simply restore them from your backup storage device – revisiting a moment in time before the attack.  It’s still an inconvenience but at least you won’t pay a few hundred dollars out of pocket and still run the risk that your files will be corrupt once released.

We offer a backup solution called instant recovery, where your system can be virtually rebooted from an off-site backup.  Your inoperable system, plagued with ransomware, can be recovered instantly from our server and would be fully operational in a matter of minutes.

Trusting virus protection software and backing up your system are likely the “go-to” choices when most of us think about protecting our files – and for good reason.  Both of these options are quite effective.  But it’s important that we don’t limit ourselves to just these two approaches.  In our next post we’ll show you 3 more steps you can take toward ransomware protection.

If you have any questions about ransomware or if you think you’ve fallen victim to it, feel free to get in touch with us at www.nexthop.ca or by leaving a comment below.

 

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