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How to protect yourself from ransomware attacks


· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

On May 15 the ransomware virus WannaCry was released, attacking at least 200,000 computers across over 150 countries. Ransomware is often transmitted via email or Web pop-ups, with infected computers being locked up and text appearing on the screen demanding users to send money within a certain amount of time, otherwise the data on the computer will be destroyed.


So what should computer users do to avoid ransomware attacks? Data security experts have suggested the following five methods.


First of all, constantly upgrade your software to the latest versions. Hackers often launch attacks against software security loopholes announced by Microsoft. The fix for the software vulnerability the WannaCry ransomware attacked was released back in March. None of the computers that were attacked had been updated with the fix.


Secondly, people ought to install antivirus software, which can detect viruses and remove malware. However, this anti-virus software should also be regularly updated.


Next, be wary of suspicious emails and pop-ups. Most viruses are spread through phishing emails and pop-ups, and computers are infected when people click on these out of curiosity. Avoid clicking on Web addresses you are unsure of.


Fourthly, create back-ups of your data. If your data has been backed up then there’s no need to fear ransomware. In the event that your computer gets infected, all you need do is re-install your operating system.


Finally, if you discover that your computer has been infected by ransomware, immediately disconnect it from the Internet, so the virus does not spread to other computers. You should then inform law enforcement authorities and seek assistance from a data security technology professional.


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