Ransomware Protection Tips


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According to the 2022 “Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report,” ransomware attacks were involved in 25 percent of all data breaches and surged dramatically in 2022. As technology becomes an increasingly integral part of daily life, it’s important to understand how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a cyberattack.

What is Ransomware and How Does It Work?

Ransomware is a malicious software that restricts access to an infected device by encrypting files on the system’s hard drive. Once encryption is completed, the user is locked out of their device. At this point, the cybercriminal demands payment of a ransom in exchange for giving access back to the owner of their data and system.

Ransomware can impact an individual, a single business or an industry. Cybercriminals can start a ransomware attack in a variety of ways, including:

Scam Emails. Also known as phishing, these emails include links and attachments that put your data and network at risk. If you click on the fraudulent link, you open the door for cybercriminals to access your device and, in some cases, demand a ransom in exchange for not sharing your information.

Infected Websites. Website users may have experienced an infected website if the website does not work properly, error messages/warnings are displayed, or your computer exhibits strange behavior after visiting an infected website.

Online Ads.

Cybercriminals can launch “malvertising” attacks by buying ad space from advertising networks and then submitting infected images with malicious code. Once you click on a malicious ad, criminals gain access to infect your computer.

Tips to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks

Despite the growing threat of ransomware, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself, your personal information, and your computer or mobile device.

  • Don’t open emails from someone you don’t know. This also includes not opening attachments you weren’t expecting to receive or clicking on links.
  • Don’t browse suspicious sites. Cybercriminals count on users mistyping the name of a legitimate site. These fake web sites are made to look like a legitimate site but can be used to deliver malware to your device.
  • Keep your security up to date. Install the latest patches and updates. Look for additional means of protection, such as email authentication and intrusion prevention software.
  • Frequently back up your data. Regularly save important files to a drive or server that’s not connected to your network. Make data backup part of a regular routine so the risk of losing data is minimized.

While there’s no foolproof way of preventing ransomware attacks from occurring, you can help reduce your chances of becoming a victim by following these tips and taking preventive measures.

To learn about other ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft, visit our web site at FirstCommerceCU.org/Fraud.

Insured by NCUA. First Commerce does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. The information on this page is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your tax, legal or accounting advisor for further guidance.