Whether you’re taking your laptop on holiday, or sticking at home with your faithful desktop this festive season…
…we’d like to remind you of a chore we all know we’re supposed to do regularly, but that many of us put off, sometimes until it’s too late.
Think of all the things that could go wrong with your hard disk and your data.
Lost, stolen, ruined by beach sand (less sympathy there!), dropped in Sydney Harbour on New Year’s Eve (same), covered in Christmas pudding sauce, misused by a well-meaning toddler, “reconfigured” by teenaged IT “expert” trying to show off Linux to grandma, deleted by mistake, hardware failure, and so on.
Or, perhaps most odiously of all, held for extortion by ransomware.
Ransomware, as we’re sure you know, is the punch-in-the-face malware that scrambles your files, sends the only copy of the decryption key to the crooks, and then offers to sell the key back to you.
With a decent, recent backup you can recover from most of the situations listed above, including ransomware.
Remember: the crooks who create ransomware are banking on the fact that the local copies of your file are the only ones.
Three quick tips:
- Keep at least one backup offline and offsite, e.g. on a removable disk in a safe deposit box or at a trusted friend’s house.
- Use a backup program that encrypts your data securely so only you can restore it. Bitlocker on Windows can automatically encrypt removable disks; on a Mac, Time Machine can create encrypted backups.
- The only backup you’ll ever regret is the one you left for another day.
Images of Christmas tree and Advent calendar courtesy of Shutterstock.
5 comments on “Advent tip #2: Defend yourself from ransomware – back up your files!”
great info…thanks. I also think your entire ‘advent’ idea a good one… now could we have, say, a link on this page to go back to the one I missed yesterday?
If you missed the other helpful Advent tip……………….just scroll down very slightly and you’ll find it.
It’s placed just below the large blue bar where you can subscribe………therefore never missing a post………very helpful for me anyway.
Loving the sleek new website………and all of the helpful hints, maybe I’ll give Sydney Harbour Bridge a miss this year, BUT, like Naked Security……..it’s always a pretty good show.
We need Previous/Next navigation links back at the top of the page also. I used the ones at the top of the old page more often than the ones at the bottom. I don’t find this new layout to be an improvement at all – it’s just different, and the lack of Previous/Next links at the top of the page makes it significantly less convenient. I don’t always read the articles linearly and frequently use one page as quick access to another page. Sophos, please give us back our links at the top of the page!
Backup because, even an iPhone tech might lose your data :0
Always keep you backups disconnected when not in use. Ransomeware loves to encrypt connected backup devices.
Another good idea after being hit be ransomware/malware/wipers is to make sure your backup device has a physical write-protect switch. If the malware gains persistence on your system (like with a rootkit) it can destroy your backup as soon as you connect it to do a restore.