On Friday May 12th, a worldwide infection swept through hospitals and business. In a matter of hours, it infected thousands of computers in dozens of countries around the world. With millions of potentially vulnerable Windows computers out there, it spread quickly, locking their data and then asking for payment.
This is called ransomware a form of malware that scrambles a victim’s files and then demands a payment to unlock them.
The best way to safeguard your computer against ransomware is to do regular backups.
The malware can only encrypt and delete files that are on your computer. If you regularly backup your files — either to an external hard drive or using an online service — then you can simply wipe your ransomware-infected computer, reinstall its software, and then restore your files from the backup copy.
Unfortunately, many people don’t keep adequate backups, so they’re vulnerable to this kind of extortion.
The basic idea behind ransomware is simple: A criminal hacks into your computer, scrambles your files with unbreakable encryption, and then demands that you pay for the encryption key needed to unscramble the files. If you have important files on your computer, you might be willing to pay a lot to avoid losing them.
The latest ransomware is having serious human consequences. Hospitals in the UK are struggling to treat their patients with many of their computers inoperative. Ransomware is not new to the IT world. But it is now a worldwide concern, not just for institutions and corporations, but small businesses and personal users as well.
Other tips to help avoid infection:
- Windows updates (perform them regularly)
- Don’t open emails with attachments from unknown senders
- Don’t allow remote access to a stranger. Call your trusted IT advisor
For further help with backing up your data or security awareness call ISP Computers today – Your Geek to Human Translators.