How to protect yourself against ransomware

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Government organisations and major global companies remain on high alert after a wave of cyber attacks that have hit around 100 countries, including Thailand.

The cyber attacks are on a never before seen scale and have been described by Interpol as “unprecedented”.

The attacks have all used ransomware to attack organisations around the world.

Ransomware involves hackers taking control of computers, tablets or smartphones and then demanding payment.

They download malicious software on to your device that encrypts information and data and then blocks access until the ransom is paid, usually in the form of Bitcoins.

Although the attacks are usually focused on businesses they can affect individuals so here are a few ways that you can protect yourself against ransomware:

1. Back up files frequently

Backup information including photos and files on a completely separate system such as an external hard drive, companies can use an external server.

This will minimise your losses should you suffer an attack.

2. Always be suspicious

Be suspicious of emails, websites and apps that require you to download files. This is how the attackers work.

Phishing emails are the most common source of the attacks however anything that requests something to be downloaded should be treated with caution.

Be careful when opening unsolicited emails or unfamiliar websites and never download an app that isn’t verified by the official store.

3. Invest in an antivirus programme

Most modern antivirus programmes can detect ransomware before you download it.

They can block secret installations from malicious adverts when you’re browsing the web, and look for malware that may already be on a computer or device. 

4. Always install updates

Software updates are often released by companies that fix vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Obviously, it is therefore wise to download the latest version of any software.

5. Never pay the ransom

Paying ransoms encourages attackers and there is no guarantee that you will get your files back anyway.

There are some programs that can help decrypt files. Or, if you have a backup, you can restore your device from that. 

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