Despite some of the recent widescale attacks, ransomware remains a largely unchecked threat. Unfortunately, computer users around the world continue to leave themselves open to infection, be it through a lack of dedicated tools or a misunderstanding of best security practices.
Here are some ransomware protection strategies and programs to help keep you and your data safe.
How to protect against ransomware attacks
Before we talk about more specialized protection solutions, there are some things you can do to safeguard your data from being lost in ransomware attacks. These steps are all free to take and could help prevent ransomware from ever being installed on your system.
1. Back up your data
The first, and arguably most important, step to protect your data from ransomware is to back up your information. Do this regularly, not just every now and then when you remember to do so. The best way to ensure your data is reliably and consistently saved is to invest in an automated backup tool.
That might sound like an expensive prospect, but there are free options such as EaseUS and Paragon, as well as low-cost options, that can keep your data safe.
This step is essential because it gives you an advantage if your computer is locked during a ransomware attack. You have your information backed up and will be far less vulnerable to attacker demands as a result.
2. Store your backups online
While maintaining local backups is not a bad idea, it is also not the best way to optimize your ransomware protection. Ensuring that you have plenty of restore points is an important step, however, it is also a useless step if you cannot access the backups when you need them.
As criminals generally lock access to victims’ files, backups stored on your computer will likely be inaccessible during an attack. This will make it difficult, if not impossible, to access your personal settings such as the login information to your favorite online casino.
Instead of relying on your device, upload your data to the cloud. There are a variety of free options that will allow you to maintain regular backups of your data. Google gives its users 15 gigabytes of free storage, for example, which could easily house backups of important files. Note that you do not necessarily need a service designed specifically for backing up your computer files.
Running a system restore from your computer and having the output folder automatically sync to the cloud is an effective solution.
3. Keep your computer updated
Keeping your computer updated is one of the most important defenses you have against ransomware attacks. The WannaCry cyber-attacks illustrate this well. May 2017 saw Windows computers all over the globe infiltrated by crypto-ransomware that locked users’ access to their files and demanded money for their release.
You might wonder how this kind of attack was possible given the number of computers affected at one time all around the world. The truth is that it was entirely preventable via a free, routine system update for Windows from Microsoft.
The attack relied upon an old exploit in the operating system which was caught and remedied by the Microsoft team months before the attacks. Unfortunately, many people ignored the update. As a result, their systems were vulnerable to this widespread attack.
Maintaining your computer is free, and you can schedule updates to happen while you are sleeping to ensure you always have access to your computer during the day. Do not skip this vital part of responsible computer use.
Free ransomware protection tools
The best protection software will prevent ransomware from not only being installed on your system but will also keep infections from taking control of your folders and files should attackers manage to overcome your precautions.
While the importance of ransomware protection is only increasing as attacks grow more sophisticated, many view the tools as “extras” rather than essential elements of responsible computer use.
Free and automated products could be the difference between an attack stopped in its tracks or the complete loss of your personal files and folders. Luckily, there are some free tools to keep you safe.
1. AVG Antivirus Free
AVG Antivirus is a free antivirus and anti-malware shield that aims to block ransomware attacks before they begin. Users should be aware of the software’s penchant for alerts and notifications, however, they seem to be a rather small price to pay for competent and free protection. AVG is easy to use and features a simple user interface to ensure you always know whether you are protected or not.
Visit AVG’s website to download their free antivirus and protect your PC.
2. Avast Antivirus
Avast is another free antivirus that offers comprehensive ransomware protection. The protection suite is available on both mobile and desktop too, so you can keep all your files safe at the same time.
This makes the software a particularly convenient pick if you have multiple devices to protect. The company also offers a paid antivirus version that unlocks even more features; however, the free version contains ransomware protection on its own.
Avast’s website will guide you to the right download for your needs.
AdwCleaner might not be a new name to you as it is one of the most popular and well-established adware cleaners available, and it is free of charge. The software is targeted at ransomware and adware specifically, and updates frequently to improve detection and removal strategies.
AdwCleaner’s official website has all the information you need to download the program and get started.
4. Avast Free Ransomware Tools
Not all ransomware reacts in the same way. This wide variety makes it particularly difficult for a single program to locate and block all ransomware attacks. That is where Avast’s free ransomware tools come in.
This easy-to-use software features comprehensive protection for 21 different types of file-lockers as well as the detailed steps you need to follow to remove the infection completely.
Keeping your information safe from cyber criminals does not have to be a difficult task. Follow the simple tips in this article to safeguard your details and loved ones from harm.