Before you get stung by ransomware, backup your data files.
DO IT NOW!
Put them on an external drive of some kind and then disconnect that drive. You might even make copies to CD-ROMs or DVDs. Do not save them on a mapped network drive. You don’t need to backup programs or your operating system, just your documents, spreadsheets, photos, anything you’ve created that you couldn’t bare to lose. Oh and speaking of operating systems, make sure you’re using the latest version of whichever OS you’re running (and software too) and make sure it gets its regular patches and updates from the manufacturer.
If you are infected and your files are encrypted you might be tempted to pay the ransom. Unfortunately, the Wannacry ransomware and many others are not ransomware at all, they just look like that. This latest nasty malware apparently overwrites any data files (that’s your documents, spreadsheets, photos etc) if it finds them on your Desktop or in the My Documents folder. These will never be recoverable without forensic level tools and even then you’d be very lucky to restore more than a handful and then perhaps not even completely. Even if you were to pay the ransom, the perpetrators of this crime don’t have the decryption keys, there never was any encryption, the files were overwritten with random data. So, here’s a second tip:
DON’T STORE YOUR DATA FILES IN THE DEFAULT LOCATIONS ON YOUR PC!
If you have cloud storage, such as Dropbox, it may be set to keep previous versions of your files, you might be lucky and be able to retrieve them from there. But, remember the cloud software will started syncing the encrypted versions of the files on your PC as soon as you are infected by the ransomware. As soon as you see evidence of infection, disable syncing to the cloud or it might be quicker to pull the plug on your internet router and stop the sync. Final tip:
IF INFECTED DISABLE CLOUD SYNC ASAP AND RETRIEVE FILES AFTER ANTIVIRUS CLEANUP
Finally, the most important tip of all:
NEVER CLICK LINKS IN EMAILS NOR OPEN ATTACHMENTS WITHOUT DOUBLECHECKING THEY’RE SAFE!