Understanding Best Practices for Protecting against Ransomware


This article describes some best practices you can employ to protect yourself against ransomware attacks and what to do if you are attacked.


Protect yourself against ransomware attacks

  1. Back up: If your files are backed up to a different location such as OneDrive or My Drive, then it matters less if you are attacked. You can simply restore your files from backup. However, before restoring your files, you will need to reinstall your current operating system to ensure that the virus is removed.
  2. Follow basic phishing best practices: Please see How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks for guidance on how to protect yourself from phishing attacks.
  3. Only install IT Software Service Center (IT SSC) approved software: Not only is this required by Virginia Tech, but it can protect you from viruses. Available student software can be found at Student Software.
  4. Ensure your system and apps are up-to-date: Configure automatic updates on your system or in your applications so you don’t have to worry about it.
  5. For Windows 10 environments, use Ransomware Protection:
    1. Click in the Search box for Windows and type, “Ransomware Protection”.
    2. Choose “Ransomware Protection System Settings”.

      Click on Ransomware Protection

    3. Toggle the switch to turn the ransomware protection on.

      Toggle to "on" position

Train the Windows Ransomware Protection application

  1. When you see a notification show up in Windows that an application is blocked, click on the notification.

    Click on the notification

  2. If you wish to allow the application to have access, click on the Action drop down and select Allow on device.

    Click allow on device

  3. If you believe you received this notification in error and that you might be infected, run a complete virus scan of your system and contact 4Help.

Protecting folders with the Windows Ransomware Protection application

  1. Click in the Search box for Windows and type, “Ransomware Protection”.
  2. Click on Protected folders to see the list of currently protected folders and ensure that the list is accurate.

    Click on protected folders

  3. If you wish to add more folders to the list, click on Add a protected folder and search for the folder to add.

    Click on add a protected folder

  4. If you wish to remove a folder from the list, click on the folder and then select Remove.

    Click remove

What to do if you get hacked

  1. Don’t panic: Take your time and consider your options before doing anything to avoid kneejerk reactions.
  2. Contact 4Help: You may not be the only one. Submit a ticket to 4Help to ensure you are kept abreast of any solutions or workarounds and to get any additional help.