While hackers are always coming up with different ways to crash systems, steal information, and more, one of the biggest threats to us all in recent times has been ransomware. This particular type of hacking technique has been one of the biggest security issues in the last few years and has cost people and organizations billions of dollars.
Ransomware is a strategy whereby cybercriminals break into someone’s device or system and then hold the information hostage. They delete the data after keeping a copy for themselves, and say that the owner will only get their information once they’ve paid a ransom. Alternatively, they lock people out of their computers or networks and only give them the new password to get back in once the ransom has been paid. Also, sometimes hackers make a copy of information people may not want getting out publicly and threaten to release the details unless they receive their money.
These threats are real and numerous, and something to be concerned about. However, you can take steps to protect yourself today.
Utilize Security Software
Take advantage of helpful security software that’s available for an affordable price. There are excellent tools that provide ransomware removal and blocking to keep your data safe. Plus, choose a product that will cover you against other threats, like viruses, spam, spyware, and the like. Also, look for an option that will keep your privacy secure when browsing the internet and protect you from phishing attacks.
It helps, too, to use a firewall on your computer. This type of protection works as an additional line of defense against hackers, particularly those trying to use your internet connection to break into your networks. Most devices already have firewalls installed on them, so you probably won’t need to buy an external product. Do check the settings on your machine, though, as you may still need to activate the firewall so it does its job.
Run Regular Updates
Another step is to run regular updates on your software and firmware. Hackers often gain access to people’s information because there has been a gap in security due to the use of old software or firmware. Avoid this situation by running the latest updates as soon as they’re released.
It’s wise to set all your gadgets and systems to update automatically, whenever a new version becomes available. By doing this, you won’t have to remember to check and run updates manually. Set up updates for everything from your security software, firewalls, and firmware, through to browsers, plugins, operating systems, apps, games, and more.
Choose Appropriate Passwords
A simple yet effective way to keep hackers at bay is to choose appropriate passwords for your computers. Often, cybercriminals can gain access to information because it doesn’t take them much to guess a person’s password. Reduce risk by making your password a minimum of eight characters in length, with a mixture of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols.
Don’t use a code people could guess from checking your social media site, emails, or website, either. In addition, put hard-to-crack passwords on your computer, tablet, smartphone, online accounts, Wi-Fi routers, smart-home products, and anything else hackers could use to gain access to your data.
Be Careful About What You Open and the Links You Click On
Hackers often gain access to sensitive data because they’ve found a way into a system through a virus or another technique. Cybercriminals regularly target emails by sending messages or attachments with malware embedded in them, or they put dodgy links on social media sites that, once clicked on, give them a back door into a user’s system.
Protect yourself against these nefarious methods by being careful about which emails and attachments you open, and the links you click on. Don’t open anything from people you don’t know, and be wary of scandalous headlines online; these are regularly designed to get people clicking through to virus-encoded links.
Back-Up Your Data
Backing-up data regularly is also necessary. While this doesn’t by itself stop hackers from locking you out of your networks, it does mean you have copies of your vital information elsewhere, separate to your devices. As a result, if you do ever get stung by a ransomware attack, you hopefully won’t need to pay a ransom as you’ll have another copy of everything you need. Back up daily so you never get caught out.
Start implementing the steps listed above today, and you’ll soon be a much harder target for hackers to try to take advantage of. In turn, your data and reputation will be safer, and you will have one less thing to stress about in your life.