What is ransomware? Very simply it is malware that encrypts some (or all) of your files, making your computer unusable. You are then given a time frame in which you may pay a fee to get the decryption code for your files. This fee is typically paid in bitcoin currency. Whether you actually do then get a decryption code to recover your files is a crap shoot. You might pay and get nothing.
From reports I read, recovering from ransomware can be a headache or a nightmare. But, there are some steps you can take to raise your protection level:
- Back up your important data files and air-gap the backups. I maintain at least 3 copies of all backups, rotating the drives. I also use open-source software whenever possible. Should the worse happen I can have my system wiped and re-install everything. A pain but not a disaster.
- Have excellent anti-malware installed and updated frequently. There are many good, and in some cases free, anti-malware programs available.
- Apply OS patches as they come out - many have to do with closing vulnerabilities.
- Always use a Least Privilege Account. This is a user account that does NOT have administrative rights. This simple trick will stop 70-80% of all malware.
Here are some other sources: