If you’re reading this, chances are that your computer has a ransomware infection, and you’re currently locked out of it, unable to access the files you need to conduct your everyday business and life activities. It doesn’t have to be this way. Use this guide to prevent ransomware from infecting your PC in the first place.
1) What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a malicious program specifically designed to block access to your computer and encrypt your files. The hacker then demands you pay for a decryption key in order to unlock them. Most ransomware is distributed through email attachments and drive-by downloads, and in many cases, you can prevent it by keeping Windows up-to-date.
2) How Does It Get on Your Computer?
There are many ways that you can become infected with ransomware. It can come through an email attachment (and if a friend or co-worker does not send it, it’s probably not worth opening). Cybercriminals might also trick you into downloading it onto your machine when you visit an untrustworthy website. This isn’t to say that you should avoid visiting any websites; however, make sure they’re trustworthy before proceeding. At best, malware could infect your computer; at worst, it could lead to identity theft and other unsavory outcomes.
How to prevent it from getting on your computer: The best way to keep your computer safe is to avoid situations where you would be exposed to malware in general. For example, don’t open attachments from people you don’t know or click on links that seem suspicious. Likewise, make sure that all of your software is up-to-date. If an update is available, install it right away because it can patch many of these security holes before they can do any damage.
3) What Can You Do To Prevent Being Infected?
There are numerous tools available that can help prevent ransomware from infecting your computer. Some of these tools include anti-virus software or programs that monitor changes to your system files. But before you take these steps, it’s important to do a few things on your end first. The first thing you should do is back up any valuable data on your computer—it may be necessary if you ever need to restore some or all of your information later.
Ideally, you should have at least two copies of your data in different locations so that if one gets corrupted or accidentally deleted, you still have a copy of it somewhere else. However, don’t think that nothing bad will ever happen to your computer just because you have backups. Always make sure your antivirus is up to date and be very careful what you download onto your system. Another obvious but good way to prevent an attack is by making sure you have the best ransomware protection available through a reputable company such as Zscaler.
4) Identifying Ransomware Infections
If you suspect your PC is experiencing a ransomware attack, your first step should be to run a scan with an antivirus program. Ransomware often comes via email or malicious links, so running a virus scan at least once per week is highly recommended. However, if you receive emails with suspicious attachments, it’s critical that you don’t click on them—and that you delete them immediately. Also, steer clear of any suspicious websites and never download files from sites that aren’t trustworthy. You can also keep your security software up to date; it will make fighting off ransomware attacks much easier.
By following these steps, you will be able to best protect your computer from ransomware. However, remember that it is always important to keep your software updated and use common sense when browsing online.