The news has been filled with reports about a global ransomware attack “Wannacry”. Ransomware is a malicious software program that takes over your computer and locks you out until you pay a ransom to gain access to your files. There are several ways to protect yourself from this hack and others like it.
- Update your Operating System – Microsoft and Apple regularly send out Windows and IOS updates to guard against the latest computer viruses and malware. Be sure to run updates as soon as you get them. You can also set your device to automatically update.
- If you have an older Windows XP device that no longer receives updates, Microsoft issued an operating system patch this week. You can read about it and download it in this blog post from Microsoft.
- Backup your files. Make copies of any important files and pictures you store on your computer. Flash drives are very inexpensive and easy to use.
- Be very careful with email especially when there are links. Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails even if it is from someone you know. Check with the sender first to be sure it is really from them. If you hover over the top of the sender’s email address you can see if it is real. Email addresses can be “spoofed” and if you read carefully you will see they are just a bit different than the correct one.
Although nothing is foolproof, regularly following these steps will help guard your computer and your information from this and future cyber attacks.