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How Ransomware Might Be Your Biggest Threat Online This Year

print_f_02218Ransomware. It’s one of those words you’ve probably heard before, but haven’t given much thought to. But considering the fact that you’re one of the estimated three billion users of the Internet around the world (according to Time), it’s something you’ll certainly want to familiarize yourself with.

Defined simply, ransomware is malicious software which will effectively hold your computer(s) hostage until a ransom is paid — generally with a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, which can be extremely difficult if not impossible to trace to the source.

Victims of ransomware have includes individuals, businesses, even hospitals. In late 2013, a police department in Swansea, Massachusetts opted to pay a ransom of $750 to regain access to their computers, as reported by The Boston Globe.

While it may seem that paying the ransom may be the best avenue out when caught in this type of trap, what’s more important is preventing ransomware from taking over your system(s) in the first place.

Small steps and some due diligence can go a long way in making sure your online presence is safe and secure. Here’s some pointers:

Keep backups:

It is crucial to keep a full backup of your system(s). Think of it like an insurance policy. Solutions like Meganet’s Cloud Backup service run in the background with little to no interaction from you to make sure your files are stored securely at a SSAE 16-certified data center — ready to be restored at a moment’s notice.

Keep software updated:

Always keep your software up to date. Most programs will generally make you aware of updates that are ready to be installed, and these updates may bring more than new features. They can patch security flaws that are putting your computer at risk!

Make use of a firewall:

For businesses, Meganet’s Managed Firewall service is a tailored solution designed to mitigate cyber attacks on your systems and employees.

Keep user privileges in check:

It is never prudent to offer users on your network more privileges than they require. Unnecessary administrative access can open the door to a number of attacks, which includes ransomware.

Common sense:

As always, keep away from websites you don’t trust. Be wary of email attachments (such as .exe files), and always keep anti-virus software updated.

These are just some of the items you’ll want to consider in keeping yourself safe on the internet. Vigilance goes a long way when it comes to your online experience.

 

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