How To Backup Your Files to be Safe from Ransomware

How To Backup Your Files to be Safe from Ransomware

The WannaCry Ransomware attack has revealed our vulnerability and lack of preparation. Many PCs remain hostage to the ransomware as owners seek to recover their files before the deadline.

How To Backup Your Files to be Safe from Ransomware

The ransomware exploits Windows vulnerabilities and user negligence in updating the operating system, utilizing an updated antivirus, practicing safe web practices, and backing up important files.

Why Don’t We Backup Files?

We are lazy. There is no hidden reason for why we don’t do it. We come to our senses when the shit hits the fan, but till then it’s too late. The same has been repeated during this attack.

How To Backup Your Files to be Safe from Ransomware

Hopefully people will learn from this experience and realize the importance of backing up their data. However, a basic backup using Windows tools is not enough to protect against a ransomware attack. We need a more effective method that can provide redundancy against encryption threats.

Two is Better Than One

The solution is to use two methods for backing up files, namely File History and Windows Backup & Restore. However, these options lack redundancy. File History saves previous file versions in the C:/User/ folder, which becomes useless if the drive gets encrypted by ransomware. On the other hand, Backup & Restore requires an external or network drive, but it only provides a single level of backup which is not effective. What will happen if the external drive crashes or if it gets connected to a PC that is attacked by ransomware?

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There are many more “What Ifs” to describe potential issues. Network drives are not safe as ransomware can spread through LAN.

Cloud is the Solution

Using a third party backup is the solution. Many programs can do this, but we need one that can also do an online backup. There are paid services that offer online backup. Starting with CrashPlan, the paid plans are worth it if you want a simple app without any frills. It offers unlimited cloud storage, onsite-offsite backup, encryption, and many more features. For budget-minded DIY enthusiasts like me, there are two apps that do the same thing as CrashPlan but use external cloud services like Dropbox or Onedrive. However, keep in mind that the DIY method is a little complex.

CloudBerry & Odrive To the Rescue

These two applications are excellent for cross-platform cloud syncing and backing up data. They are similar in how they work.

How To Backup Your Files to be Safe from Ransomware

Odrive is a simple tool that installs itself in the taskbar and displays linked cloud services as separate folders. To sync files, you need to manually copy them to the appropriate folder.

Cloudberry, on the other hand, is slightly more complex. Here is a How-To guide:

Step 1: Install Cloudberry and open it from the Start menu. Click on the Files button to create a new Backup plan.

How To Backup Your Files to be Safe from Ransomware

To choose between Local or Cloud and Hybrid backup, select the first option. To use Hybrid Backup, read more here.

Step 2: Add a Cloud storage account to save files. Click on the Add New Account button to add a cloud service account. Then click Next and select Simple mode for backup. In the next screen, choose the folders to backup.

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How To Backup Your Files to be Safe from Ransomware

Step 3: This screen provides options for customizing the backup process. You can select files to back up based on parameters like type, size, and modification date.

How To Backup Your Files to be Safe from Ransomware

Step 4: Configure the backup schedule. Choose the Real-time or Recurring option. In the final step, you can opt to receive an email notification about the backup status.

How To Backup Your Files to be Safe from Ransomware

Similar plans can be set up for different folders. For example, you can have your photos backed up to Google Drive while Documents can be uploaded to another service.

However, a drawback of Cloudberry is its limited support of personal cloud services. Outside of Onedrive, Google Drive, and a few others, most of the services are enterprise-grade.

But this limitation can be overcome by using Odrive, a local file-sync app, and some creativity.

So Ready To Backup, Finally?

Backing up your files is crucial for protecting yourself from cyber attacks. Alongside using a reliable anti-virus and keeping your operating system updated, following safe web practices is also important. Remember to choose an offsite backup option, such as an external drive or cloud storage. If you have any questions or thoughts, please share them in the comments.

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