There’s a new wild west. The internet age has brought bank robbers from the prairie plains to the world wide web. As investors and brokerage firms increasingly rely on computers for processing trades and managing portfolios, the risk of your investment data increases too. One of the biggest threats to online data is ransomware.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a computer virus that targets your computers digital files and literally holds them for ransom until a payment is sent for their release. So far this year, we have already experienced two widespread ransomware attacks: the WannaCry virus, back in May, and now the Petya virus in June.
While these viruses are sophisticated, there are steps you can take to protect you investments against ransomware attacks.
Install/Update Anti-virus Software
It may be a nuisance, but every time you see a notification that your anti-virus software needs an update, run it. These updates are extremely important to keep up with changes to existing malware and viruses.
If you don’t have any anti-virus software on your computer, GET IT!
Back-up Your Computer Files
Running backups can be one of the best safety nets if your computer becomes infected by ransomware.
With the latest Petya virus, it reboots your computer and begins encrypting your files. If you have backed-up your files already, you can shut down your computer in the middle of this process. You can then reconfigure your hard-drive, reboot and restore back-ups.
Avoid Keeping Investment Documents on Your Computer
To make sure your investments are secure, you should not store sensitive files in open files on your computer. You can encrypt them yourself, but that does not always guarantee they will be secure against a ransomware attack.
The best safety measure would be to store investment documents in hard-copy somewhere and immediately remove them from your computer.