Minimize the Potential for Ransomware Attacks with Regular Data Back-ups

What is Ransomware?

Your data is valuable. Hackers understand this and will often make clever attempts to install malicious software on your computer so they can gain access to your data. If they are successful, they will encrypt your files until a ransom is paid. Once the ransom is paid, you may receive a decryption key to regain access to your data.

How Does it Spread?

The most common ways that ransomware is spread is through clicking on links from unknown sender, opening unknown attachments as well as visiting unknown or unsecured websites.

Who Gets Attacked?

Everyone is at risk. From big corporations to home users. Individuals are typically more vulnerable to attack since they may not have measures in place to safeguard their data.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Here are some tips to protect yourself:

  1. Avoid unknown or suspicious emails – If you receive an unsolicited email with urgent message with a link to a website for more information, do not click it.
  2. Scan Attachments – Maintain and active anti-virus program and ensure that you use it to scan your attachments before opening
  3. Secured Websites – Make sure to look for the secured lock icon in your browser bar. Do not submit any personal information to a website that does not have a valid SSL certificate. You can easily identify secured websites by the visible lock icon next to the http:// in your browser address bar.
  4. Keep Software Up-to-Date – Make sure to install updates to your operating systems and various applications regularly. Once vulnerabilities have been identified, they can become an easy target for hackers.
  5. Back-up Your Data Regularly – Backup solutions are quite inexpensive and can be set to be done automatically daily, weekly or monthly. Cloud back-up are typically more secure than backing up to an external hard-drive. Backing up your data regularly means that you won’t be scrambling to recover volumes of data. At worst, you may only lose a day or matter of hours of data. There are plenty of solutions available on the market however Veeam offers a solution that may work for you. Here’s a link to their FREE Windows Backup for Desktops and Laptops
  6. Upgrade to Cloud Solutions – From business tools like Microsoft Office 365, Google’s Gsuite to your accounting software like QuickBooks, Xero, SAGE are all moving customer to online software subscriptions. Sure, there is added cost but plenty of additional convenience options as well as enhanced security. You’ll also never never need to worry about installing software updates again.

Lastly, if your data is being managed by a third-party such as your bookkeeper or accountant, make sure to inquire about whether or not they have these security measures in place and how they are protecting your data.