05/15/2017 10:28 EDT

How To Protect Your Computer From Ransomware

In recent days, the "WannaCry" ransomware has been causing chaos worldwide for individuals, businesses and public bodies. The virus encrypts data on infected computers then asks users to pay a "ransom" in order to receive a code that unencrypts the data.

However, this kind of infection can be avoided in most cases by following a few simple steps.

1. Always keep your antivirus software and operating system up to date. Microsoft immediately reacted by releasing a security patch for users to download;

2. Never open email attachments from unknown contacts, no matter what the file type;

3. Never click on links sent by email from unknown contacts;

spam email

4. Delete and mark as spam any emails you receive from unknown senders;

5. Don't browse or click on links featured on websites that aren't approved by your internet browser;

6. Never hook up unknown external storage devices (hard drive, USB stick, CD, etc.) to your computer;

7. Regularly backup files to an external hard drive that is then disconnected from your computer;

8. If your PC does get infected, never pay the "ransom" -- there's no guarantee that your files will be recovered.

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