Ransomware attacks have been the latest thing for unscrupulous hackers everywhere as hacking methods get more sophisticated and people rely on technology to store more of their personal data. It’s slowly becoming more of a risk to surrender your personal data for anything, let alone something as trivial as your DoorDash account or your social media. And yet, people continue to offer up the most intimate details of their lives to potentially insecure platforms.
Ransomware is a type of malware that allows hackers access to a system so they can block it or threaten to publish the victim’s data. This is done so the hacker chan ransom the data and receive payment for leaving the data unharmed. This might sound familiar if you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan who happened to catch the ransomware episode. This practice can apply to businesses like hospitals that deal with sensitive information or potentially harmful data. However, it’s not restricted to patient records. Businesses who save payment information for the convenience of their clients are also vulnerable to these sorts of hacks. According to this study, California had the highest number of ransomware attacks and the highest financial loss due to ransomware in recent years.
There are plenty of ways that you can minimize your chances of being a part of this sort of hack. Some of the best practices are detailed below:
- Don’t click on unfamiliar links. They may be a delivery system for a virus. If you’re not sure about where something comes from, try searching for it online and clicking on it that way.
- Be wary of unfamiliar email addresses. Even if they seem reliable, it’s easy to spoof an email address using an official-sounding title. When in doubt, reach out to the person on a different thread.
- Update your firewall regularly. Ransomware viruses evolve like anything else, so the protection has to evolve with them.
- Change your passwords regularly. Using the same password for everything is convenient, but a very bad habit. For your important passwords, it’s a good idea to change the code at least every few months.
- Don’t download files from sources you are unfamiliar with. Again, if you’re looking for something in particular, try searching for it on Google and downloading it from there.
- Enable 2-factor authentification. This will notify you if someone else is trying to use your device or login without your knowledge.
Whether you’re a business owner or just a tech-savvy computer lover, there are plenty of ways that you can keep your data out of the hands of hackers and avoid the potential dangers of ransomware. It might seem like an abundance of caution, but as hacks become more common and our personal data is required for more day-to-day life situations, it’s important to remain vigilant about protecting your personal information. You never know what could happen if it falls into the wrong hands.