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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Ransomware, which has become a huge problem in the last few years, is when an attacker gets in your computer and locks up your files so you can’t get them without paying a ransom. Check out this quick video tip or read on to find out how to protect yourself:

This is a horrible way to lose your family photos or other important data. It’s a common attack because most people have a lot of information they care about quite a bit, but others might not find financially valuable. Attackers have figured out how to monetize your own data by locking you out of it.

The best way, and sometimes the only way, to protect yourself is to make sure that you have a backup of all the information on your computer that’s important to you. You can backup onto an external hard drive disconnected from your computer so it’s safe from the attackers deleting it or attacking it. But an even better way is to use an online cloud service provider like Backblaze or Carbonite that backs up your data, so if you are attacked the backup provider still has a copy and can get you back up and running without paying the ransom. There are a variety of online backup providers for home use, and several more robust options for business information (where ransoms are usually much higher).

Backups are only effective if you make them before you get Ransomware, and they protect from hardware failures as well as fires and floods, so they’re extremely important!

We’ll have more security tips coming for you throughout October!