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Top Story: Windows 10 and ransomware - Here's what Microsoft wants you to know

Top Story: Windows 10 and ransomware - Here's what Microsoft wants you to know
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Windows 10 has been very popular since it was originally released in July 2015. It's fast, safe and offers browser extensions that diehard Windows users wanted for years.

If you remember, Microsoft made a huge push to get people to upgrade from older operating systems in the summer of 2016. Once again, the tech giant is making a push to convince people to make the switch, this time in the name of security.

We've been telling you for some time now that ransomware has become the number one digital threat. That's why Microsoft is advising companies to upgrade to Windows 10.

Why Microsoft recommends Windows 10

Microsoft has been studying ransomware attacks over the last year since they became so prevalent. The tech giant says Windows 10 can stop these attacks from turning into a major outbreak on a company's network.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) can help stop ransomware attacks before they spread. It's an added level of security that catches these attacks if your security software does not.

Part of Microsoft's research was a study of the most rampant ransomware families. From December 16, 2016 through January 15, 2017, the Cerber ransomware family was among the most active, especially with organizations. Windows Defender was found to successfully block these Cerber attacks.

There is also a Creators Update expected to be released in April that will make Windows 10 Defender ATP even more secure. This, along with the fact that older versions of Windows are not as secure, should convince people to upgrade.

How to avoid ransomware

Since ransomware attacks are the number one digital threat, U.S. government agencies are taking action. Here are some recommendations from the FBI on how to avoid ransomware attacks:

  • Back up data regularly - this is very important. It's the best way to recover your critical data if you are infected.
  • Download only trusted software - make sure the software you download comes from trusted sites. Avoid third-party app stores when downloading apps.
  • Make sure your backups are secure - do not connect your backups to computers or networks that they are backing up.
  • Never open risky links in emails - if you get an email or notification that you find suspicious, don't click on its links. It's better to type the website's address directly into a browser. Before you ever click on a link, hover over it with your mouse to see where it is going to take you. If the destination isn't what the link claims, do not click on it.
  • Have strong security software - This will help prevent the installation of ransomware on your gadget.

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