Halloween may be behind us, but Internet Boogeymen are still at large. Ransomware is growing at an alarming rate.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a malicious software (malware / virus) that blocks access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. And sometimes paying doesn’t even ‘release’ the files that are held ransom.
Here are 12 facts about ransomware:
What can you do?
1. The first defense against malware of any kind, be it ransomware or any other, is user education and awareness. Being careful as far as what you click on or open is paramount.
2. Keep a backup; either a cloud-based one with versioning (OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.) or an external drive that is NOT left connected, yet connected for backup on the regular. Maintaining this is tricky and is easy to fall out of habit…
3. Anti-virus protection. Notice how this is third in line and not #1. Getting a virus and not being able to recover from one isn’t a sign of not having the right anti-virus program Getting a virus and not being able to recover from one isn’t a sign of not having the right anti-virus program — it’s a sign of a failure of #1 and/or #2.
Anti-virus programs are not 100%, especially in the case of ransomware (which, historically, has been known to get past anti-virus programs). But of course, we want one there! And the built-in Windows one is FREE (and not an “annoying, pop-up and try and sell you something” ‘free’ like most others). It’s also pretty good.
It has introduced ransomware protection for key folders on your system, and you can add more too. To utilize this, Windows Security (previously known as Windows Defender) must be enabled for Real-Time protection. And Controlled folder access must be enabled thereafter.
Leveraging Windows Security Ransomware Protection
Open the Windows Security app by double-clicking the shield icon in the system tray:
Click the Virus & threat protection tile (or the shield icon on the left menu bar) and then enable Real-time protection and Controlled folder access here:
NOTE: Because Windows disables real-time protection with a third-party anti-virus solution’s been introduced, these steps only apply to those using Windows’ built-in solution.
For any assistance with computer backups, malware protection or anything covered in this article, please contact Tech-Tree.