It was only three years ago when the world experienced one of the largest ransomware attacks ever: WannaCry. WannaCry infected 200,000 computers across the world, causing hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of damage. Today, we face a new ransomware threat, Tycoon, ransomware spread through a rare java file format, which runs the risk of tricking many developers.
If you’re not aware of how ransomware works, ransomware works simply by infecting a device, locking files found on the device or the device itself, and asking the user for a large sum of money or cryptocurrency to unlock it, AKA holding a device for ransom.
3 Cyber-security Tips to Protect Yourself
No one wants to be on the receiving end of a ransomware attack, so I wanted to compile a list of ways you can protect you and your devices from cyber-attacks, ransomware, or no.
My research led me to 3 ways in which you can defend against ransomware attacks, including the latest Tycoon ransomware. I recommend using all of these at some point. Remember, security isn’t something you should delay for later.
1. Using a VPN
Let’s kick off this list by talking about the use of public networks. Public networks offer convenience and easy access to the Internet…but at a cost. Not many people think about this, but their security is heavily impacted by using public networks, networks not usually protected with a password or encryption.
This lack of protection makes it easy for cyber-criminals to steal your data without you even knowing. To avoid this, I recommend using a VPN, a virtual private network. A VPN encrypts all of the data your device sends out and takes in, along with hiding your IP address from everyone but you.
A VPN will keep you secure on public networks, and you won’t have to worry about any lurking cyber-criminals on said public network while you’re working.
2. Updating Your Devices on a Constant Basis
In the past few years, companies have shed their shyness of pushing updates on their users. In fact, I’d go as far as to say companies enjoy doing it—especially Microsoft.
These updates show up at random times, use pop-up notifications to grab your attention, and overall are quite annoying. However, they’re necessary. See, these updates almost always contain security improvements for your operating system. Without these updates, cyber-criminals and hackers will have a much easier time accessing your device and stealing your information.
I recommend you update your devices as frequently as possible. Whether it’s your phone, your laptop, or even your TV, you should update it as soon as you get a notification for a recent update. In fact, get into the habit of checking for updates once or twice per week.
3. Being Careful about What Sites you Visit/What you Download
The Internet is populated with tens of thousands of apps and programs. And while many of these programs offer ways to assist you in your daily life or a way to have fun, some of them are sketchy and pose a risk to your security.
In fact, many forms of ransomware spread through programs or documents people download. I mentioned earlier that Tycoon spreads through a Java file format—and image, to be exact.
To keep yourself safe, refrain from downloading any program, document, or vice versa that seems a bit…off. You know, things like programs available from a sketchy website, or a document sent to you by a random email.
The recent Tycoon ransomware attack is only one of many cyber-attacks that take place every year, let alone every day. This is why it’s important for you to practice proper cybersecurity etiquette, as, without it, you’re just as vulnerable to cyber-attacks as anyone else.
The three solutions I listed today are a great start to practicing said cybersecurity etiquette. Do what’s right and secure you and your devices now.