Ransomware attacks this year are becoming more and more common. Granted, most of the victims these days are multi-million or multi-billion-dollar companies, who can technically afford to pay any ransom that hackers would demand. However, this doesn't mean individual people are safe from ransomware hackers. 

Ransomware art
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Any hacker could potentially have some sort of personal grudge that no simple virus would be enough to "atone" for. That's because ransomware attacks are more or less twofold: you not only get your personal data stolen, but you'll also have to pay for it with an exorbitant amount. Fail to pay, and maybe your sensitive information or even secrets get leaked out for the entire internet space to gawk at-Bye-bye privacy. 

Fortunately, protecting against ransomware attacks is straightforward. Here is a guide to ensure that your personal data is safe from anybody who might want to hold them hostage. 

Ransomware Protection Basics

According to WIRED, a ransomware attack can never happen without access to your computer or any electronic device you own. That's your first and best layer of protection. 

 Laptop phone user
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Hacking into your personal device is almost often achieved by allowing rogue or fake applications on it from sites that look authentic at first glance. And you'd be surprised at how easy anybody on the internet can be fooled into downloading/installing illegitimate software or clicking on links they're not supposed to. This is one of the main reasons why the United States is now seeing an average of seven ransomware attacks per hour, starting from last year until now. 

So your first tip: NEVER download or install any software from sites that you don't trust, and NEVER click on an email you know you were not supposed to get. Getting victimized by a ransomware attack is as easy as clicking a single link or downloading a pirated movie. 

Here's another important tip: if you can afford to avoid it, DO NOT perform sensitive transactions like bank transfers or credit card purchases over unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. Do it with your mobile data or personal Wi-Fi hotspot. 

Read also: US Businesses Hit by Colossal Ransomware Attack as Country Prepares for Independence Day Weekend

Keep Your Device Updated 

Here's another thing you should know about ransomware: they don't always have to trick you into clicking or installing something fishy. Sometimes, hacking into your system involves taking advantage of security loopholes in legitimate software that haven't been patched. 

Pc update
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So, your next move is always to keep your computer or any electronic device updated. This includes your operating system, individual programs, and your anti-malware protection. Sure, Mac and Windows updates might be extremely annoying when they pop up to remind you. But maintaining updated software is your second-best protection against any ransomware attack. 

Make Backups 

Personal data can be anything. This could be your games, photographs, and literally everything else you deem important enough to keep on your device. If, for some reason, you cannot afford to lose all this data in one fell swoop (i.e. you might be a creative professional whose data is critical for work), MAKE BACKUPS. 

As per UC Berkeley's Information Security Office, making backups is not enough. To ensure the safety of the data, isolate the most critical ones to an offline site away from the network. That way, hackers can't use the internet to worm their way inside from a remote, anonymous location. 

Final Thoughts 

It's technically tough to keep your personal data 100% safe from hacking. But these tips are more than enough to minimize your risk of getting victimized. As they say in medicine, prevention is always better than the cure. 

Related: Ransomware Attack Hits PC Hardware Maker Gigabyte

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Written by RJ Pierce 

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