5 Ways to Deal with Ransomware without Spending a Dime

There are various habits we have in order to keep our properties safe. We lock our cars, front door and windows. We also hold our phones with a tight grip and tend to not leave things that we hold dear to our hearts lying around. And when these things are out of our possession, we tend to panic and do everything within our power to get them back. This includes a situation when our computer or computer files have been taken hostage. This act is known as ransomware. There are various ways by which attackers can hold your computer ‘hostage’ and demand any sort of payment in order to release your computer and computer files back into your possession. Ransomware can do a variety of things, for instance, they can encrypt your files so you can’t use them or the hacker(s) can prevent certain applications, such as your web browser, from running. Typically, a hacker will take hostage of your files and demand a specific amount of money before a provided deadline and they will often threaten to destroy the files if their demands are not met.

There is no one stop solution to regaining control of your computer. You may decide not to do anything; however, a ransom situation may gradually develop to a case of identity theft. The easiest solution might be to simply pay the hacker, however, there is no guarantee that once you pay the ransom that is being demanding from you that you will gain control of your computer. If you do decide to pay the ransom, then there is a likely chance that you will be targeted again. Therefore, like so many other situations, prevention is better than a cure. So, here are several ways that you can prevent your computer from being taken hostage.

  1. Back up your files.
    This is the age-old solution to a lot of problems involving computer software. You will not be desperate enough to pay the hacker simply because you still have access to your files on a storage device. You will be able to take a step back and try and resolve the situation with a clear head and provide the best possible solution. Once the hacker(s) realize that you are not affected by the fact that your computer files have been taken hostage, they will eventually move on.
  2. Make use of a firewall or an antivirus software that you can trust.
    You don’t have to take care of your computer on your own. There are various softwares that are dedicated to protecting your computer against attacks. It is important to research any company that you are trusting with your computer files. Beware of companies out there that pose as something that they are not and are not able of protecting you to the fullest capacity.
  3. Make use of your popup blocker.
    Many hackers take possession of your computer through the interaction between you and a pop up ad. Accidentally clicking one of these softwares can lead to the introduction of a malicious software. You might be tempted to simply click the X in the right-hand corner, however, many hackers have disguised the X to activate a virus on your computer.
  4. Don’t open the email when the subject line is ‘please, open,’.
    Hackers are typically creative people and there are certain emails that show up that tend to play at our curiosity. Clicking on these emails then allow hackers to have access to your computer and give them the opportunity to do as they wish. So, if you do come across an email that isn’t familiar, don’t open it. It is better to be safe than sorry.
  5. Follow your gut feeling, and disconnect from the internet.
    If you feel like you’ve exposed your computer to a threat, disconnect yourself from the internet to prevent your data from being transmitted to the hacker. You can go as far as shutting down your computer. It is usually difficult to react faster than the malicious software, however, encrypting all the files on your computer does take a generous amount of time so in doing this it is possible to limit any possible damage.

The morale of the story is anyone can be a victim of ransomware. From large company networks to your computer sitting on your kitchen table. It’s important for users to be aware of the malicious attacks that are out there. Awareness is the first step. None the less, no one deserves to have their privacy violated and be prevented from getting the most they can from their computer. Taking these steps to ensure that you are protected and you can enjoy using your computer without the fear that it might be taken away from you at any moment.

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