The WannaCry Ransomware Is A Reminder To Pay Attention To Computer Security
There has been a lot of buzz about the WannaCry ransomware attack because it succeeded in attacking several major companies, including FedEx and the National Health Service in the UK. Overall, at least 200,000 machines were infected. It’s a good reminder that computer security is vital, not only for your home business, but for your personal information.
There are some very basic things you can do that will prevent most attacks of this sort.
Keep Your Computer Up To Date
A security fix in March protected Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2016 from this attack. Microsoft has now issued a fix for Windows XP, even though they no longer support it normally.
For Mac or Android devices, keep things updated also. This attack did not target them, but that says nothing for the future.
Have Solid Malware Protection
For reasonably current Windows machines, Windows Defender is a free option that is pretty good. If you have nothing else, make sure it’s turned on. It should just be on your system; you should not need to download it.
BitDefender is a good option as well. I use it on my computers. There’s a subscription fee, but I think it’s worth it.
Use A Password Manager
There are a few reasons why I consider a password manager to be important. I like LastPass. It’s mostly free, and the premium version is very affordable.
First of all, it makes creating unique passwords for each site really easy. The only one I have to remember is my master password, and yes, it’s complex. It can generate random passwords to suit the requirements of any website.
Second, I can access them wherever I need to.
Third, I can share passwords between my account and my husband and kids. This is a paid feature, but it’s worthwhile. It means I can keep track of my kids’ passwords if I should need them, and they don’t have to come running to me saying they forgot.
LastPass considers security very important. They offer two factor authentication as an option, and are quick to respond to issues.
The greatest weakness with any password manager is the end user. If you don’t use a secure master password or if you don’t have your computer security up to date, you risk problems.
Never Open Strange Emails
If you aren’t sure about an email, don’t open it. If you open it, don’t open any attachments or click on any links. If it makes you worry about an account, log into that account by typing the URL in yourself, not by clicking a link in the email.
Secure Your IOT
You probably have a lot more on your home network than laptop and desktop computers. Phones, tablets, smart devices of one sort or another… they’re all potentially susceptible to hackers. You can look into options such as CUJO or similar devices.
Make Regular Backups
If you regularly backup your computer, you will have very little to fear from ransomware. There are a lot of very affordable cloud services you can use to protect your data. I like having offsite backups because they’re likely to be immune to any disasters that happen in my home.
Amazon Prime includes free photo storage. If you want unlimited storage for all types of files, their price is very reasonable. It’s not a complete solution, but it’s a start to protect many of your most valued files.
Google Drive gives you 15 GB for free, and has two levels of upgrades available for very reasonable prices. It’s shared across Google Drive, Gmail and Google Photos.
If you want something more complete, go for something like Acronis True Image, which can backup your entire hard drive. It’s considered to be among the best solutions, possibly the best. The price is quite reasonable. Carbonite is also a good choice.
You can also make backups on an external hard drive in your home. They’re very reasonably priced.
All of this may seem like a lot to do, but much of it takes just a little time to set up, and is then easy to use. Most things will update automatically and should mostly just work once set up. They’re a huge help with peace of mind.