Important Tips on Protecting Your System and Data Against WannaCry and Ransomware Attacks

Past few days we all have been following the breaking news on the fast-spreading WannaCry ransomware affecting globally hundreds of thousands PC systems around the world, and are wondering what is this virus and whether your computer system and data might be at risk. WannaCry, like any ransomware is a computer virus that usually spreads via spam emails and malicious download links. The virus is designed to lock up computer files and the ultimate goal is to blackmail the affected user until the victim pays the ransom demand, usually $300-$500 in Bitcoins.

Wana_Decrypt0r_screenshot
Screenshot of the ransom note left on an infected system

WannaCry is especially malicious because it spreads itself and doesn’t even require the user to click any link or open a file. Now most of us wonder how to make your system and data secure.

Planning your data protection and recovery strategy is essential to any PC user. This awareness guide will help you be cautious and save your valuable data on PC from WannaCry or any other potential ransomware threat. In addition to installing anti-virus software like Kaspersky or similar solutions, every PC user should implement stringent backup controls with snapshots to increase safety from attacks and prevent possible data loss. Since this widely spread global cyber-attack is just one of many to hit users, reliable system and data backup is always the key to protect against such malware threats.

Countries_affected_in_WannaCry_ransomware_attack
Map of the countries initially affected by the virus

The following advisory on WannaCry ransomware will help prevent data loss and in case of a disaster recover it fast:

1. Backup your computer with the reliable backup solution.
2. Update your Windows OS with Microsoft’s latest fix.
3. B careful of opening any unknown emails, websites and apps.
4. Use anti-virus protection software in conjunction with a firewall.

To help users protect their systems and valuable data, this week Paragon Software Group started offering all new and existing customers of Paragon Hard Disk Manager 15 Suite and Paragon Hard Disk Manager 15 Professional – the all-inclusive data management tools with full Windows 10 Creators Update support, Br16-protect-restoreParagon Backup & Recovery 16 software absolutely free of charge. This essential tool can be used alongside Paragon Hard Disk Manager for stronger backup functionality, or separately on other devices.

Stay safe and always backup your system.

Keep your friends close and your hard drives closer: Safely managing disks on your Mac

Keeping personal information truly confidential is something of a challenge in the modern world. Our every move is being recorded, with eyes watching from each corner. It may sound paranoid, but this is the new reality. With our smartphones, social media, and messaging apps, almost everyone is now an open book.

One of the safest ways to keep your information secure is to store it in on your Mac’s solid-state drive (SSD) without access to an internet connection — but that’s nearly impossible these days, right?  For most of us, it’s generally good enough just to be careful when browsing the web and avoid clicking any suspicious links.

But let’s take a look at the worst-case scenario: What if your information is stolen or taken away from you by an employer, roommate, or even the government? What if you decide to sell or donate your Mac? It ultimately doesn’t matter who got access to it — it’s imperative that you destroy personal data before the bad guys grab it.

So how can you make sure your sensitive data doesn’t fall into wrong hands along with your hard disks (HDD) or other media? Physically shredding old disks into tiny pieces is impractical, even if it may ultimately be the safest data method of destruction.

For years, OS X has allowed users to erase data from disks using native tools included with Apple’s Disk Utility. When you select a volume in Disk Utility and click the Erase tab, you can select Security Options and choose how many times the media will be written over. But this procedure is very time-consuming, and you can’t wipe free space on the disk with this method.

Unlike traditional hard drives, it’s no trivial matter to recover data stored on SSDs, due to the way the hardware optimizes storage to reduce wear and tear. But this is by no means foolproof, since there are readily available tools capable of easily reconstructing SSDs that have been erased.

One simple way to protect data is to encrypt it from the very beginning on a new SSD or HDD using FileVault 2. This is a full-disk encryption option that first appeared in OS X Lion 10.7, which keeps your startup volume encrypted at all times. Whenever you boot your Mac and log in to the account via FileVault 2, OS X encrypts everything written to the disk and decrypts everything that being read.

Erasing a FileVault-encrypted volume discards the decryption key, turning your disk into an unreadable mess. Without the key, the erased data is as good as gone. The only problem with this solution is that should you forget your account credentials or lose the recovery key, your data will be permanently lost.

So we are left with the only suitable option: Wiping the drive. When you wipe a HDD or SDD, you erase everything on the disk, including data you previously deleted that might still exist.

When you format a hard drive or delete a partition, you usually delete only the file system, making data invisible but not entirely erased. You need to take an extra step to clean the hard drive completely using specialized data wiping tools. This software works by writing over every divisible part of the drive, used or otherwise.

One of the best tools on the market for a logical-level wiping of your hard drive is Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac. It supports all Intel-based Macs, providing tools to quickly and efficiently sanitize hard disks to protect valuable information.

You can irreversibly destroy all data on your disk in compliance with the major national government and military data standards. For only $39.95, you receive a powerful tool to manage data on your hard disks, and keep valuable information completely under your total control.

Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac

  • System Integrity Protection in OS X 10.11
    El Capitan support;
  • Core Storage backup and restore;
  • Snapshot-driven backup;

Learn more about Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac