Coping with Ransomware – How Not To Be Held To Ransom.

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Ransomware is a particularly nasty piece of coding. When activated it encrypts your files manly, pictures, music, word, excel, adobe files and then conveniently displays a screen with a link where you can go to and pay for the decryption key to release your files.

It’s nothing new, in fact its been around for quite some time, and yet still people are willing to pay the ransom fee. But the reality is you don’t need to. With modern systems and facilities available there is no reason why you cannot get your files back easily and remove the infection, you just need to take some very simple preliminary actions and preventative measures to ensure your files are a) neither lost not b) held to ransom.

1) BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP – It a the first rule of IT. Have a decent backup in place. It is the first thing you need in order to protect your files. There are many types of backup available, cloud backup or just a simple external drive attached to your PC. Whichever option you choose do it, and do it now.

External Drive Backup – Buy an external drive sufficient in size to backup your files. Plug it in to your computer. Click on START and type in BACKUP, Select Set up backup, Select your destination drive, what you want to backup and schedule. That’s it, its all you need to do.

Cloud Backup – There are plenty of cloud backup solutions to choose from, most will offer you 5GB for free and you pay a little more after that, Dropbox and OneDrive are amongst the most popular with Onedrive offering more space for free,  but the issue with these is you have to save files to a particular folder, We like Cubby, You register,download the app, and then right click on the folder you want to backup and “Make it a Cubby”. This way you don’t lose your filing structure on your computer, and like the other products apps are available for your mobile devices. Now although these systems will copy the encrypted files to the cloud based storage area, they do have the option to go back to previous versions (normally they go back 1 month), ie you can easily recover your files.

2) SETUsysprotectionP SYSTEM PROTECTION – This is normally on by default, but if not  then definitely  worth turning on. Click on START and type in CONTROL PANEL, Top right search window type in SYSTEM and click on the Main System title. Now down the left hand side select  SYSTEM PROTECTION

It should be on for your main drive but if not then select CONFIGURE and then TURN ON SYSTEM PROTECTION and using the slider how much disk space you want to dedicate to the system.

Now that SYSTEM PROTECTION is turned on, after a day or two you can RIGHT click on a folder and select RESTORE PREVIOUS VERSIONS (it is there) and select from the list of possible restore points

3) ANTIVIRUS – Get a good antivirus that also comes with antimalware. Install it, make sure it’s up to date, schedule periodic scans, and pay the subscription.  The Free antiviruses are good, however you get more protection when you pay.

4) ADDITIONAL ANTI-MALWARE – Malware is a description give to Malicious Sofware, so not necessarily a virus, but software that causes popups, etc, but the term is being used to describe a whole host of other issues and Ransomeware is often detected by Antimalware programs. One to the best we have seen is Malwarebytes. They have a free version which you can update and run a scan on your PC when you sense something is not right, or purchase it and have it run in the background. This product has saved many a client hours of downtime.

Prevention is better than a cure, but take these simple steps and you can easily kick that Ransomware in to touch.

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