Dodging online threats is just like dodging threats in the physical world—it takes preparedness. But cyber safety is even more challenging, as you often can’t see the threats coming unless you’re an IT expert.
Thankfully, cyberattacks can be avoidable if you’re equipped with the right information and take the right precautions.
Cybersecurity starts at home. Protect yourself from ransomware with these protective and preventative measures.
1. Look for suspicious links
Before clicking any link—especially text that is hyperlinked (which is called anchor text)—hover over it to see the full link. But how do you know it can be trusted? What do potentially malicious links look like?
A link might be malicious if:
- It has strange characters. When hackers hide their links, they often run them through URL encoders. If you see a nonsensical mess of letters, numbers, and symbols, it’s likely a malicious link in disguise.
- It’s shortened. Another common way to disguise links is by running them through link shortening services. So, err on the side of caution when you see links from bit.ly, owl.ly, TinyURL, or similarly short link structures.
- Links from unsolicited emails. Never open links within emails that you weren’t expecting. If the email came from someone you know, verify with that person (through a communication channel you trust) that they were indeed the sender. You should also check the sender’s address and take a moment to ask yourself if they would really send that message.
2. Only use messaging platforms with end-to-end encryption
Encryption is a life-saving measure to protect against uninvited eyes. This technology masks your messages into a code that’s incomprehensible to hackers without your private encryption key.
If you’re sending company information or confidential personal information to your colleagues, using fully encrypted messaging platforms is an absolute necessity. Data privacy is no laughing matter.
3. Adopt endpoint threat protection
When you protect your endpoints, you’re protecting your desktops, laptops, tablets—every device you use to work online. It’s great to have firewalls and a network support team to protect your business’ network, but ransomware attackers have found ways to bypass corporate networks.
Anti-virus software is a great source of protection, but it doesn’t always protect individual devices. Endpoint protection methods such as encryption and application control add another layer of security to your devices.
Application control, for example, prevents you (the endpoint user) from executing unauthorized applications that could expose your network to attacks.
4. Back up to the cloud frequently
How much data are you ready to lose? How much loss can you afford?
If you answered ‘none’ to both of those questions, cloud hosting is a no-brainer. But they’re still valid questions to think about—your backup frequency should depend on how much online work you do. If you’re not concerned about two days’ worth of data but you are concerned about two weeks’ worth, you need to perform backups accordingly.
Doing manual backups frequently can get tedious.
Cloud hosting ensures automatic backups and adds redundancy to your data management approach. By backing up data in real time into secure cloud storage, you’re leaving less information out in the open for hackers to steal. You’re also spending less time maintaining physical storage infrastructure.
5. Find an IT service in Edmonton that can protect you
All these useful solutions can’t erase the harsh reality that ransomware attacks are inevitable.
If you want thorough, top-to-bottom protection, you need to do better than home-grown solutions. A team of experts monitoring the ongoing safety of your systems is the critical piece of security that most businesses are missing.
CBM researches and stays ahead of threats so that you don’t have to. Click here to see what cybersecurity services we provide.