In the last post we talked about recovering from a ransomware attack, but you shouldn’t have to recover from something you could have easily prevented. For anyone who didn’t read the last post, ransomware is a type of cryptovirus. Ransomware will force its way into your computer, encrypt your files, and demand a ransom for their return. This ransom is paid in bitcoin, and is usually a few hundred dollars. Of course, having all of your files encrypted would be a major inconvenient to anyone, even those who know how to deal with ransomware. What most people don’t know is that, ransomeware is fully preventable.
By following this tutorial, you will learn how to completely spare yourself from a ransomware attack.
1. Keep your software updated
Whenever you see a security update available for any of your software, update it. While updating software is a major inconvenience, its certainly less inconvenient than not being able to access your files.
This also goes for operating system updates. Companies such as Microsoft try very hard to prevent virus’s from entering their operating systems. The number one reason people get computer viruses is their general unwillingness to allow OS updates. It would appear that the general attitude towards OS security updates is, “Why should I have to waste my time updating this piece of junk, shouldn’t it already be secure??”. The simple truth is, ransomware, and all virus’s really, are adaptive. With every new security update, someone will find a way to bypass security measures. When security measures are bypasses, its time for a new security update.
Keeping your operating system and your software updated is an easy way to stay about 90% secure from any computer viruses.
2. Don’t download files unless you know they’re safe
The biggest way to contract a computer virus in the first place is downloading suspicious files. Nearly all ransomware attacks begin because someone executed a suspicious file. As a general rule of thumb, don’t click on any email links sent from someone you don’t know, and don’t download any files off of untrustworthy websites. Ans yes, that website you tried to download your Clash of Clans “free gem hack” off of, it was untrustworthy.
There is actually a way to tell if a file is trustworthy or not, and its free too. To scan a suspicious file, visit: “https://virustotal.com/“. Virus Total is a completely free way to check any file or folder for viruses or malware. Virus Total will take any file under 128MB and scan it with 56 different antivirus scanners. Even if your antivirus didn’t catch the virus, there is a very good chance that at least one of 56 different antivirus’s will.
3. Invest in an Antivirus
Many people have a love/hate relationship with their antivirus. They say, “Sure, my antivirus’s keeps me protected, but it slows down my computer, and it costs so much money”. For this reason, many people wont even get an antivirus. Bad idea! An antivirus is a front line defense that will keep you protected against almost all viruses, ransomware included.
If you refuse to pay for an antivirus, there are also some good free ones. Avast, for example, is an efficient, reliable, and most importantly, free antivirus. It does have a paid version, but even the free version will keep you safe against common viruses and most ransomware. To get Avast, visit “https://www.avast.com“.
4. Create backups of your files
Ok, this isn’t necessarily ransomware prevention, but it is a very good idea. What is does do is prevent the common goal of ransomware, scare you into paying for the return of your files.
With your files safe, off in a distant land, ransomware wont have any power over you. Plus, even if you’re fully protected against ransomware, its a good idea to still have backups of your files. Its not all that uncommon for a hard-drive to fail, a component of your computer to break, or a laptop to be stolen.
Just be prepared!
5. Delete preexisting viruses
Want to know a great way to get more viruses? All you have to do to get new and improved viruses is leave the old ones on your system.
Many viruses have internet connectivity and will automatically get you more viruses for free. Oh boy, more viruses! In all seriousness, this is bad, and you should probably get rid of your old viruses. The best software for getting rid of preexisting viruses and malware is Malwarebytes. Even if you already have an antivirus, getting Malwarebytes isn’t a bad idea. Malwarebytes is so that is can recognize viruses just based off of their characteristics instead of simply checking a list of viruses. For this reason, Malwarebytes is also able to find antivirus blocking viruses that could prevent your normal antivirus from detecting certain viruses. To get Malwarebytes, visit “https://www.malwarebytes.com/“.
Even if you don’t buy Malwarebytes though, just double check you C drive and your registry for anything suspicious.
We hope this post helped you learn more about virus and ransomware protection! Be sure to check back for more tutorials, reviews, and news!