It cannot be said enough, you need to double and triple check to ensure your personal information is secure; anything connected to or residing on a computer is potentially at risk. The public was alerted to a new cyberattack Tuesday night which is being described as "an improved and more lethal version of WannaCry" said Matthieu Suiche, a security researcher who helped contain the spread of the WannaCry ransomware when he created a kill switch that stopped the attacks.
We should also mention that while this is a type of cyberattack known as "ransomware," is at its core a "computer exploit." An exploit means that it's taking advantage of program code on someone's computer that is outdated and not secure by modern day standards (which unfortunately change very quickly). This particular exploit then encrypts everything on your computer and makes you pay a "ransom" to a stranger over the Internet to get it back; not ideal.
Do These Three Things and Avoid Being Exploited:
+ Update Your Computer More Than Once a Year
Everyone hates spending the time to do it, but updating your system means you're downloading the newest software and security for your computer directly from the developers of said systems. Who doesn't want the newest of the new, top of the line, updated software for free? It's as easy as setting your computer to update before you head to lunch, and it'll be done before you know it.
+ Back Up Your Computer Daily
If I get hit by a cyberattack, opt to not pay the ransom, and have to completely wipe my computer, then I can kiss all my pictures, videos, music, programs, and documents goodbye. Buying an external hard drive ($50) and backing up my computer regularly means that at very worst I can wipe my computer, restore from my back up, and go on using my computer without paying a ransom to a stranger over the Internet.
+ Install Virus Protection Software
The "best offense is a good defense" is true even for your computer. This type of software helps repel, protect, and alert you about what's trying to invade your computer, requires little to no technical knowledge to install, and is typically inexpensive ($50). Then simply let that software do its thing, making it even harder for cyberattacks to take advantage of you and your personal information.
The aforementioned best practices don't take long to do, and they will absolutely save you time, money, and hassle if by chance you're hit by any kind of cyberattack, ransomware, or exploit. Internet scammers prefer easy targets so take steps to avoid being one.
If you do come across a scam or fraud, digital or not, report it to BBB's Scam Tracker, so that we can alert other local consumers of new and on-going issues. If your business has been hit by a cyberattack of any kind, talk to an Accredited IT Security business in your area as soon as possible. You can also learn more about modern day cybersecurity at the 3rd Annual Michigan Cyber Security Conference on October 19 in Grand Rapids.