Ransomware1-How to Defend Against it

Ransomware attackers, especially WannaCry, are infecting over 150 countries, also governments, hospitals, police departments, and even normal folk. If you get hit with Ransomware you are in serious trouble.  It takes control of your computer, encrypts your files so they are unreadable, and locks them up.  Then you receive a message like “your files are locked pay $$$ dollars by June 12th or we’ll wipe out your files.” If you are infected and you send a damaged file you can unknowingly infect someone else’s computer—–so be careful use safe computering.

Ominous hand over computer screen

Hacker Danger, source: Stockvault

TIPS

Here is a compilation of tips I found in Internet articles along with a few of my own.

  • Administrative Mode-Keep to a minimum, go on as a guest if you can with limited access to files and controls until you need them. This reduces exposure to attacks on the Administrative functions which are prime bait to attack.
  • Antivirus Suites: find at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2369749,00.asp
  • Antivirus/antimalware “Suite” software: Buy!!! (Which has a bunch of tools like a Swiss army knife)? See this link above for evaluation of 10 excellent programs. Examples include Trend Metro, Kaspersky, Norton, MacAfee, Malwarebytes, etc.
  • Attachments: Don’t open unless you absolutely know it’s from a friend, family, or client (and to be safer call that person and ask if they sent it!). Double check emails supposedly from your bank, doctor, insurance to confirm the email address relates to the business. If you have an email supposedly from Bank of America the sender’s email should look like BillJones@bofa.com not BillJones@123res.com.
  • AutoPlay-turn it off so no one can stick their Flashdrive, memory stick in your computer to infect your machine.
  • Backups: Make backups of your files NOW! I make daily making backups of everything to several places. Create these backups in several places like a Flash drive, an external drive, the cloud, Google Drive, etc.
  • Block File Types: Set your computer to block attachments with exe., vbs., or .scr. My Google is preset with this restriction.
  • Bluetooth or infrared ports turn off if not used.
  • Downloads-scan for infections-with your antimalware/antivirus programs.
  • Email unknown: Don’t open any email from someone you don’t know.
  • Fake Warnings, “You are infected, buy our product!!!” This warning is not from your antivirus program or Microsoft/Windows—-open those fake warnings and you run a high risk of infection.
  • File sharing-disable it. For now, keep “sharing” at a minimum.
  • Help: Ask for help if you don’t know what to do.
  • HTTPS-websites that begin with ‘https’ in the address are safer than “http.” For example, https://www.msn.com, because this setting confirms the website has advanced security measures. Websites that begin with “http” are not as secure.
  • JavaScript files open with Notepad to block attacks.
  • Macros and ActiveX: disable for Microsoft Office programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, etc.