Issue: How to Back Up Your Files?
Hello. I know that ransomware industry is booming, and almost every article about these viruses suggests creating a data backup. I wanted to ask you, how can I create a data backup and where should I save it? I want to make sure that it stays safe so that I could use it in case my antivirus fails to block a ransomware attack.
It is an excellent question. Nowadays, ransomware industry is booming, and it seems that it is not going to change in the nearest future. Viruses like Cerber, Spora, or Sage continue to attack unprotected computers daily, and unfortunately, it seems that many users are unaware of ransomware attack prevention methods. We see dozens of new ransomware versions released every week and thousands of victims that sorrow over lost memories or years of work due to lack of backups. Data backups are extremely important and having antivirus or anti-malware program is simply not enough to protect your files from a ransomware attack. Even if you have the strongest anti-malware software, there are still some chances for a ransomware to slip into your PC unnoticed. For example, if you forget to update your security software on time, it simply lacks the latest malware definitions and consequently it won’t be capable of detecting them. If such virus manages to enter the system, the antivirus won’t block it because it simply won’t recognize it as a threat. However, if you have a data backup, ransomware attack won’t take all of your files away. It will corrupt the latest versions of your files, but obviously, it will be possible to restore the majority of files from a backup. However, we must say that the threat of ransomware is not the only reason why you should have a backup – your files can be lost due to computer theft, accidental deletion, or even natural disaster. Below, we provide instructions on how to create a data backup.
Method 1. Use an external hard drive
External hard drives are very similar to those hard drives that are inside your computer box. However, portable hard drives are usually smaller. Such backup is typically used to secure personal files such as photos, videos, but of course, it can be used to store any type of files. If something happens to your PC, you can just plug the portable hard drive to the computer and access your files directly from the hard drive or import them to your PC. There is one drawback – extra hard drives are quite expensive; however, they definitely cost cheaper that the ransom that cyber criminals demand after encrypting personal files.
- To create a backup, connect the external hard drive to the computer using USB cable.
- After that, go to Start Menu > Settings > Update & Security > Backup.
- Here, click on Add a drive and find your external hard drive name in the list of external drives. Select it.
- Then, select More options. Here, you can configure some backup settings, and add more folders that you want to backup. After that, click on Back up now and wait until the backup procedure is done.
- Unplug the hard drive and put it in a secure place – ideally, a safe, but the drawer of your desk table should work, too.
Method 2. Use a Cloud Storage service.
This method is not so efficient because some ransomware viruses manage to connect to cloud drives via computer’s Internet connection and corrupt files stored there as well. However, you can create backups on these cloud storage services: Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox. To find instructions on how to create an online backup using these services, visit their official websites.
Method 3. Use a Flash Drive
If you believe that you do not need a massive backup and you want to save just a couple folders of photos or documents, you can use this method, which requires having a Flash drive. All you need is to connect the Flash drive to the computer, open My Computer / My PC / Computer folder and find the new removable drive that appears there. Before you open this directory, find a folder that you want to backup. Copy them, then double-click on the removable Flash drive folder and paste copied files/folders there. Step by step, copy and paste folders and files that you want to back up. Once you are happy with the results, go to My Computer folder and right-click on the removable drive folder. Choose Eject, and then unplug your Flash Drive from the computer. Put it in a secure place and repeat the procedure anytime you need to backup more files.
Instructions for Mac users:
Mac users can back up their files using Time Machine feature:
- Attach an external hard drive to your Mac (turn it on, if needed).
- First of all, set up Time Machine. Use your Mac’s search to find Time Machine and open it.
- Choose Set Up Time Machine. Then Turn Time Machine ON. Then, choose the disk that you want to use for the backup.
- Follow instructions provided by Time Machine.
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