As the world becomes more digital with our information connected to it, there are more opportunities for online attackers to gain access to our most sensitive information.

Online attacks have become common, from banking to retail, healthcare to entertainment, and even government. No one is safe.

Most of these online attackers can be grouped according to their motivation. Whereas some steal personal data and banking information, others withhold access to certain files and demand money for its return.

Online attacks

Just like the case of a kidnapping where someone is abducted, and money is demanded to release them, some online attackers do the same to our information.

The dangerous people create harmful software (called Ransomware) to attack your information or gadget and stop you from accessing the information you need.

When ransomware gets into your computer (phone, tablet, etc.), it hides your files/ information or locks your operating system. You will not be able to use or access this file.

You may be required to pay an amount of money for it to be released to you. After payment, it is still not 100% guaranteed that you will gain access.

online attackers

How do we get infected?

Without being cautious and vigilant, we can allow our devices to get into contact with this dangerous malware (software).

Anytime we do any of the following, we open ourselves up to getting infected by ransomware.

  • Visit an insecure and fraudulent website
  • Download software from untrusted websites
  • Carelessly open our  Spam mail.

How we can increase the risk

Beyond our actions, there are some things we have/allow that make it easier for online attackers to penetrate our defences. These things increase our risk of getting attacked online.

They include, but are not limited to:

  • Using an outdated device
  • A device using an outdated software
  • Browsers and/or operating systems are no longer patched
  • No backup plan

We stand the risk of potentially infecting our organizations as well when we do not curtail these risks and develop habits to protect our data from online attackers.

We can protect ourselves

If you do not want to end up with a locked laptop or a file we cannot open, we need to be very prepared. This preparation means we need to be careful while being online.

The chances of infection can be reduced significantly when we do the following.

online attackers

1. Avoid clicking on links in spam messages or on unknown websites

If you click on suspicious links, an automatic download could be started, which could lead to your computer being infected.

2. Avoid disclosing personal information

If you receive a call, text message, or email from an untrusted source requesting personal information, do not reply.

3. Do not open suspicious email attachments

Avoid opening any dubious-looking attachments. To make sure the email is trustworthy, pay close attention to the sender and check that the address is correct.

4. Never use unknown pen drives

Never connect pen drives or USB sticks or 1other storage media to your computer if you do not know where they came from.

5. Keep your programs and operating system up to date

Regularly updating programs and operating systems helps to protect you from malware. When performing updates, make sure you benefit from the latest security patches.

6. Use only known download sources

To reduce the risk of downloading ransomware, never download software or media files from unknown websites. Only rely on verified and trustworthy sites for downloads.

Also, exercise caution when downloading anything to your mobile device. You can trust the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, depending on your device.

7. Use VPN services on public Wi-Fi networks

When using a public Wi-Fi network, your computer is more vulnerable to attacks. To stay protected, avoid using public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions or use a secure VPN service.

8. By using anti-ransomware software

You can avoid a situation in which you have to pay huge sums for the possible release of your data. By using software like Kaspersky, Bitdefender Plus, Acronis Cyber Protect Home, etc., you can be rest assured that you and your data are protected from any form of online attackers.

Moving Forward

When it comes to protecting ourselves from harm online, caution and the use of effective protection software, like with other forms of malware, are a good start.

The creation of backups is vital when dealing with this form of malware, as it allows you to be well prepared even in the worst-case scenario.

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