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Quick Tips and Security News 4-11-16

Ransomware Prevention Tips

Dealing with the aftermath of ransomware attacks is like Russian roulette, where submitting the ransom might be the sole option for recovering locked data. This is precisely why focusing on prevention is a judicious approach to adopt.

The growth of ransomware over the past few years has driven the security industry to create myriads of tools applicable for blocking these types of threats from being executed on computers. Few of them are 100% bulletproof, though.

This article is focused on additional measures that users should employ to ensure a higher level of defense against these plagues.

1. First and foremost, be sure to back up your most important files on a regular basis.

Ideally, backup activity should be diversified, so that the failure of any single point won’t lead to the irreversible loss of data. Store one copy in the cloud, resorting to services like Dropbox, and the other on offline physical media, such as a portable HDD.  This is the most important thing you can do.  Make sure to disconnect the backup drive when not in use as ransomware can encrypt your backup drive as well.

An efficient tactic is to toggle data access privileges and set read/write permissions, so that the files cannot be modified or erased. An additional tip is to check the integrity of your backup copies once in a while.

2. Refrain from opening attachments that look suspicious.

Not only does this apply to messages sent by unfamiliar people but also to senders who you believe are your acquaintances. Phishing emails may masquerade as notifications from a delivery service, an e-commerce resource, a law enforcement agency, or a banking institution.

3. Think twice before clicking.

Dangerous hyperlinks can be received via social networks or instant messengers, and the senders are likely to be people you trust, including your friends or colleagues. For this attack to be deployed, cybercriminals compromise their accounts and submit bad links to as many people as possible.

4. Patch and keep your operating system, antivirus, browsers, Adobe Flash Player, Java, and other software up-to-date.

This habit can prevent compromises via exploit kits.

5. In the event a suspicious process is spotted on your computer, instantly turn off the Internet connection.

This is particularly efficient on an early stage of the attack because the ransomware won’t get the chance to establish a connection with its Command and Control server and thus cannot complete the encryption routine.

6. Keep the Windows Firewall turned on and properly configured at all times.

7. Install a browser add-on to block popups as they can also pose an entry point for ransom Trojan attacks.

8. Use strong passwords that cannot be brute-forced by remote criminals.

Set unique passwords for different accounts to reduce the potential risk.