It's important to stay vigilant when it comes to online security. After the recent WannaCry attacks, which targeted Windows 8 and other older versions of the popular operating system, the world has been refreshed and reminded on the importance of safeguarding your online activities and devices.
Here are some tips for staying safe:
- If you're still running Windows XP, 8, or the recently support-expired Vista OS, buy Windows 10 software. If you can afford it, even better is buying a brand new computer. Even a low-end modern PC will leave your XP machine in the dust. To avoid being targeted by another WannaCry-like attack, download the patches that Microsoft has made available for older versions of Windows XP: SPTx64, SP3x8, XP Embedded SP3x86, and other iterations.
- Turn on the Windows Update auto-patching feature on your Windows 10 computer. Sure, it may be annoying when those updates would rudely take over a computer as soon as a user signed on, disabling the machine for five to 10 minutes. After the Windows Creators update, this is no longer the case. Stay updated!
- Backing up to a physical drive is a good idea, but ransomware has a long reach and can lock up backup devices. it's a good idea to disconnect the hard drive as soon as you're done with a data transfer. Cloud backup is also useful, and serves as another location for your important data.
- Ensure that your web browser and plug-ins/extensions are always up to date. This helps to stay ahead of malware that is transmitted to your PC through dangerous and malicious sites.
- Invest in an antivirus solution. If your antivirus software is on the older side, it might not provide dedicated protecion against ransomware. To plug this hole, install a dedicated, free utility which can be found online.
- For goodness' sake, don't click on weird/suspicious emails! If the sender's name is familiar but looks a bit off, or has a spelling error, it's likely a phishing scam. If in doubt, ask a friend or family member - someone else will be able to help you identify what is safe and what is not.