Ransomware…It’s a scary thought for many, and an unknown for many others.
Basically it’s when someone hacks into your computer, and takes it over, not allowing you to access it (and your precious files) unless you pay a fee.
With this and a lot of other hacks, there are some steps you can take to make sure that if/when you are hacked, you don’t need to sweat that you can’t access your files, and you can just brush away the cyber terrorists.
For starters, back your files up frequently.
This can be done to the cloud (services like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive) which obviously face its own hacking failures, or on a hard drive you keep at home.
If you choose to backup to a hard drive, don’t leave it plugged into your computer after you are finished backing up, since hackers would potentially have access to those files and wipe them out before you knew they were in your computer.
Unplug it and keep it nearby, so that it isn’t a pain to backup (on a separate note, I keep my backup hard drive in a fireproof box, because if fire is what destroys your computer, it’s likely to destroy a hard drive sitting next to it, taking your files with it).
What happens if you are hacked?
One of the first things I would do is disconnect from the internet. Turn off the wifi on your computer (if you have a button that can put it in airplane mode, as some laptops do), or go straight to your router/modem and just flip the switch off.
If your computer can’t access the internet, the internet terrorists can’t access your computer.
This does NOT mean that your computer is home free. If they laid the lines correctly, as soon as you reconnect to the internet, they can potentially get right back in. And if they placed some sort of ransomware program on your computer, it can run without the internet.
So after disconnecting from the internet, it’s time to weed out the bad files/folders/programs and delete them all before you log back online. If you need help from an expert, there are plenty of computer geeks/nerds/techies out there that’ll help eradicate the villains from your computer.