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Membership Appreciation Month: Lock it Down

In light of the WannaCry ransomware attack over the weekend — which affected more than 200K computers in 150 countries — today's challenge is especially timely. (Read this if you were attacked by WannaCry and need help knowing what to do next.)

Today Tim and Brandt, ISBA's tech gurus, talk about how to protect your computer and data as best as you can from malware, ransomeware, and other cyber attacks.

13 Best Practices for Keeping Your Windows PC and Mac Secure

(In Italy, 13 is good luck!)

1. Backup your data. Back it up again somewhere else. If everything else fails, you'll be really glad you have all your data saved elsewhere. Check out this previous D4S post that was all about redundant backup.

2. Disable the remote desktop in Windows and only use secure remote software (like TeamViewer). See this document for instructions.

3. Purchase and install antivirus software with internet security features. This will provide additional protection where the Windows and Mac firewalls fall short. Top recommendations include AVG, Avast, and ESET.

4. Purchase and install anti-malware protection software. Tim and Brandt recommend Malwarebytes' anti-malware, anti-exploit, anti-ransomware, and malicious website protection.

5. Download and install all available security patches (Window updates) on a regular basis or configure auto-updates. See this document for instructions.

6. DO NOT disable user account control (UAC) in Windows.

7. Install security plugins in your browser, like ScriptSafe or NoScrip, that prevent JavaScript from running without your permission.

8. DO NOT enable macros in Microsoft Office.

9. Just say 'NO' to suspicious links and emails. Call the sender of an email and confirm they did in fact send you an email with an attachment.

10. Call your insurance company and ask them if you are covered for ransomeware attacks.

11. In the event of an infection/infiltration on your computer, disconnect your computer from the internet immediately. Pull the Ethernet cable out or disable your wireless connection. DO NOT REBOOT YOUR COMPUTER. Have an IT professional look at your computer and assess the damage immediately.

12. Enable system restore in Windows and create a restore point. See this document for instructions.

13. Tim and Brandt feel so strongly about this that they want me to remind you again: make an offline/offsite backup of your computer and sensitive data. Even if you forget to protect yourself from infections and malicious software, you can always restore from a good clean backup.

By doing some (if not all) of these practices you have a much better chance of surviving an attack on your computer and data. And even if you have an IT team at work that takes care of all this for you, it's still good information for your personal computer at home.

We'll meet you back here tomorrow to cover how to protect your mobile device, and Friday we'll look at the ins-and-outs of creating and managing your passwords.

Posted on May 17, 2017 by Sara Anderson
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