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Stop ransomware attacks by hackers! Here is how to do so - 3 tips

Ransomware attacks are increasingly threatening people and companies and they are losing a lot of money to hackers due to this.
Ransomware attacks are increasingly threatening people and companies and they are losing a lot of money to hackers due to this. (Getty Images)

Ransomware attacks by hackers are getting ever more dangerous. Here’s how to protect your personal systems and organisation from ransomware attacks.

Ransomware attacks can affect anyone, at any time, thanks to sophisticated methods used by hackers to trick users into clicking on links or opening infected attachments. Ransomware attacks happen when hackers encrypt a victim’s data and demand money (ransom) to unlock it. Ransomware attacks end up with victims paying large sums of money to the hackers in exchange for a ‘decryption key’ that can unlock their data for them again.

Over time, ransomware has gotten more dangerous, with hackers now moving from demanding ransom money to extorting users (who have backups of their data and refuse to pay up) into paying to prevent their data (which could include private images or corporate secrets) from being leaked online. With danger increasing, here’s what users can do to protect themselves online - 3 tips to save your data from ransomware attacks:

1. Take regular backups of your data and store them safely

During ransomware attacks, hackers rely on encrypting a user’s drive or all their folders and thereby locking them out of their own data. However, if you take regular backups with more than one copy and store them safely, you can make sure that the risk of losing your data is reduced. In the case of a ransomware attack, users can simply restore a recent backup of the data, minimising the damage. Organisations can also use automated backups to prevent such attacks from affecting them.

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2. Controlled access prevents extensive access to sensitive data

Microsoft Windows comes with a feature called Controlled folder access, that prevents untrusted applications from editing or modifying files in the most critical areas of the operating system – your home folder. This means ransomware, which tries to encrypt your files, will not be able to touch the system until you manually grant it access to your controlled folders. This could go a long way in preventing ransomware attacks.

3. Restrict access to people using the system to limit damage

If you protect your systems by limiting access to different users based on access to the files they need, it will reduce the avenues for attackers to access that data. That way, even if your organisation’s system does get compromised it does not guarantee the attacker access to all your files. While there may not be a 100 percent foolproof solution, people and organisations can stay vigilant and avoid unknown email and message senders to protect their systems from being infected.

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