Every 40 seconds, a company gets hit by a ransomware attack. Ransomware is malicious software that cybercriminals use to hold your computer or computer files for ransom, demanding payment from you to get them back. It hits the device when navigating through various hacked websites, downloading a file or clicking a wrong link. Sadly, ransomware is becoming an increasingly popular way for malware authors to extort money from companies and consumers alike.

In the coming years, Ransomware will be more and more a news topic. Unfortunately, it’s very sophisticated and hugely disruptive to your operations. Use our seven tips to make sure the next news story will not be about your company.

7 easy steps to protect against ransomware

1. Back up your most important files regularly

Ransomware isn’t effective if you have a recent backup of your data. You can choose from many cloud-based backup services, or you can purchase an external hard drive.

Ideally, backup activity should be diversified, so that the failure of any single point won’t lead to the irreversible loss of data. Store one copy in the cloud, and the other on offline physical media.

2. Do not open suspicious-looking attachments

If you receive an email from an unfamiliar person asking you to click a link or open an attached file? It’s better you do not open it. There’s a good chance it’s a virus or other malware that may infect your computer.

Not only does this apply to messages sent by unfamiliar people but also to senders who you believe are your acquaintances. Phishing emails may masquerade as notifications from a delivery service, an e-commerce resource, a law enforcement agency, or a banking institution.

Some viruses can even take over your email account. If you receive a suspicious message that appears to be from a friend, send them a fresh email about it (don’t just reply) to ensure they actually sent the message in the first place.

3. Update your computer’s operating system regularly

Patch and keep your operating system, antivirus, Java, Adobe Flash Player and other software up-to-date.

4. Use a modern browser

Modern browsers-such as the latest version of Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge-have built-in protections against some types of viruses and malware. The browser can warn you about potential dangers before you get phished or download a virus. Always update your browser to the most current version to stay ahead of these threats.

5. Instantly turn off the Internet connection, when a suspicious process is spotted on your computer.

This is particularly efficient at an early stage of the attack because the ransomware won’t get the chance to establish a connection with its Command and Control server and thus cannot complete the encryption routine.

6. Work in the cloud

Criminals have a harder time hacking big companies like Google. If you use programs like Google Docs, your documents aren’t actually stored on your computer and will still be accessible if you get hit with ransomware.

7. Use strong passwords

Set unique passwords for different accounts to reduce the potential risk. And change these passwords regularly, every quarter. Never write down your passwords. Instead, use a tool that is designed to keep your passwords safe.

Take Steps to be Safe

It’s is best to make sure that your company never is a ransomware victim. Reduce the changes of pirates holding up your computer and employ the above measures to ensure a higher level of defence against ransomware.