Ransomware is BACK, and it’s meaner than ever. The new versions will attack your external drives too!
And it’s not just Windows computers, but Macs are being attacked too and every bit as nastily.
Ransomware attacks your computer – and you – by hiding every single file on your computer under a blanket of encryption. It makes it so that none of your documents or photos will open up. They all appear to be just a bunch of gobbledygook; unreadable by anything other than the program that encrypted them.
After it has encrypted everything, it opens a message window and demands a ransom from you to have everything decrypted again. The ransom demanded is usually between $200 and $400 but there have been reports of some being even higher. Unfortunately, because it is criminals making the demand, there’s no guaranty that paying the ransom will actually get a key to unlock your files.
You can try to protect yourself with antimalware, but the bad guys are always finding ways around those programs. The first defense is with you.
The best protection against ransomware is a good, up to date backup of all of your files. But, it must be kept separate from your computer!
That’s because the newest variants of ransomware will not only encrypt the files that are stored on your main hard drive, but it will also seek out and encrypt the files on attached “external” and network drives. That includes flash (AKA “thumb”) drives that are attached to your computer at the time of the attack.
The easiest way to protect your files is with an automatic off-site backup in the internet cloud. Several services will do this for you with a subscription fee of around $60 per year, per computer. Carbonite is one of those (carbonite.com), Backblaze (backblaze.com) is another.
The cloud approach is all automatic and, once you start it, it will back up everything on your computer, constantly, as you add or change your files.
If you prefer to not have a subscription service, an alternate approach that depends more on you is to use multiple external or network backup drives. Plug one in for a week and backup everything as usual. At the end of the week, disconnect that drive and set it aside, then connect your alternate backup drive. Let it back everything up for a week, then switch back. This way you always have a backup that is never more than a week old, safely detached where ransomware can’t get to it. This does depend on you to always make that weekly switch though. Be diligent if you use this method.
I prefer the cloud backup subscription. No worries about me forgetting to make the switch, and it is always up to date.
Hoping, as always, that this is all quite clear and useful; nevertheless if I can fill in some details or help with anything on your computers, please don’t hesitate to call: Mike Pepper ~ Computer Guy. www.PawlingComputerGuy.com 845-855-5824