Intuitively, most of us think that companies that develop, produce and sell commercial software, like Microsoft and Apple, should be responsible for damages from the insertion of malicious code into consumer’s computers and devices. However, we all “accept” the fine print which states the seller abdicates that responsibility. Hence, consumers have the following three simple ways to lower the risk of ransomware.
BACKUP YOUR DATA
Everyone should backup their data and keep those backups in a safe place. The minimal acceptable frequency for the average consumer is monthly backups. If you are actively creating important data then the minimum backup frequency should be weekly. However, if your data changes often and your data is critical to you for business or personal reasons, then use should backup daily, or at least the days where your data changes in a critical way.
When consumers have backups, then if the consumer is a victim of a ransomware attack, the consumer can just wipe out their system and rebuild with a clean backup.
APPLY SOFTWARE UPDATES RELIGIOUSLY
Everyone should insure their software is up-to-date. Period. The current ransomware attack would not be possible if Microsoft consumers had kept their systems up-to-date.
DISCONNECT DEVICES FROM THE NETWORK WHEN NOT IN USE
Do not leave your WIFI, LAN or other network connections on when you are not using your computer, smart phone or other device. Many consumers sleep with their phones on and connected to the network. It’s best to put your phones in airplane mode and have a good nights sleep.
The same is true for your desktop computers and notebooks. Turn off your network connections if you are not using the network. For example, when you go to sleep or go to work, just turn off your network connections to your personal computing devices at home. Turn the device back on when you are using it again. Do not leave the device connected to the network and active unless you have a good reason to do so.
The less time your device is connected to the Internet, the less risk you will have.
These are just three “bare minimal” simple ways to lower the risk of ransomware. Please note. This is not an overarching cybersecurity policy; but for the average consumer, if you do these three simple things, you will significantly lower your risk to any damage from ransomware.