How to Avoid a Computer Hostage Situation

How to Avoid a Computer Hostage Situation

What is the worst thing that could happen to your computer or mobile device? Chances are those nightmares include dropping your phone in water or someone spilling a hot beverage on your laptop while you’re doing some work at a local coffee shop.

While those situations are bad, the devices could be fixed or replaced in those situations. But, what if you were working on your computer when a message suddenly popped up on your screen that said your computer was locked and would stay that way until you paid a certain amount of money? In other words, what would you do if your computer were being held hostage?

Computer HostageYes, that sounds extreme, but it does happen. If highly secure systems like those in hospitals, police departments, and casinos can fall victim to this, so could you. Ransomware doesn’t discriminate; this software infects your computer or mobile device and can lock you out of it until you pay a cybercriminal to give you access back.

If you find your device infected with ransomware, getting out of the situation can be time consuming and expensive. Two of your options at that point are to find some quality ransomware removal software or give in to the hacker’s demand and pay up.

Rather than concede to a ransomware attack, prevent it from happening in the first place. Defend your devices with a good offense and attack an infection with strong ransomware removal software.

Don’t let any of your devices get held hostage. Here are a few prevention tips to keep your precious data out of the hands of cybercriminals and free of ransomware.

Invest in Strong, Updated Cybersecurity

Installing security software will minimize the chances of exposing your system to ransomware. However, installation is only half of the battle. You’ll also have to make sure your software is up-to-date; running old virus software is basically the same as having no protection at all. Some of the more well-known protection companies provide five layers of protection: network, file, reputation, behavioral, and Repair.

Back Up Your Data Files

One of the reasons cybercriminals are confident their victims will pay a ransom is not because the machine is locked, but because of what is saved on it. You may not be able to put a price on your important documents or sacred photos, but anyone willing to hold these things hostage can.

If you back up your files on a USB or external hard drive, you gain some leverage back from your data’s captor because even if you can’t unlock your device, you have your most important data stored elsewhere.

Just make sure to detach your backup device from your computer once you have what you need on it; otherwise it can get infected with the same ransomware.

Avoid Suspicious Links and Emails

Computer HostageThis is easier said than done, but if you receive an email from an unfamiliar sender with instructions to click on an attachment or URL, it’s in your best interest to avoid it. A common hackers’ tactic cybercriminals use to infect a computer with ransomware is to spam a victim with emails with malicious attachments, hoping the unsuspecting recipient will open it. Once they do, ransomware makes its way into the machine.

Also beware of “malvertising.” This act starts when an advertiser’s network is compromised when hacker embeds malware into it. These ads appear on websites you visit often, and if you click on these ads, the damage has begun. You can combat malvertising by using ad blockers that will reject these malicious ads.

Disconnect Immediately If You Do Get Hit

This tip is key if you have several devices all operating on the same network. The second you realized your computer has been hit with ransomware, disconnect all and any infected systems from the network as well as any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth that may exist on compromised machines. Disabling will keep the malware from spreading further through those methods.

The last thing you want to do is pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to get back information that belongs to you in the first place. While no cybersecurity software is 100 percent bullet-proof, you stand a much better chance of avoiding being another ransomware victim if you take the proper precautions. Protect yourself with ransomware removal software today.

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