A reader wonders if having two drives is the secret to beating ransomware.
“I have a computer with a 512 GB SSD “C” drive and an internal 3 TB HDD “D” drive. All of my programs are on the solid state drive and my pictures, documents, music etc are on the 3TB HDD. If I got a ransomware on my computer would it only affect the C drive on the SSD? If so, then would this be a good way for everyone to go so they don’t chance losing everything? I regularly back up everything twice (just to be on the safe side) on 2 separate 4 TB hard drives just in case one fails using the free program ‘Sync Toy’ from Microsoft plus I have a lot backed up in the cloud. I look forward to reading your emails every day, great job.”
Unfortunately, ransomware works by encrypting files. It can lock your files no matter what drive they’re stored on. If you’re synced and online with the cloud, it can get to those files as well.
If you have files backed up on an external hard drive that isn’t currently plugged into your PC, they might be safe. However, ransomware does not always show itself immediately, so it’s possible for that type of malware to linger on your computer waiting to be triggered.
That’s why it’s a good idea not to leave a backup external hard drive plugged in all the time. If you’re backing up your documents, photos, and other important files to a flash drive, take it out of the drive as soon as you’re done.
Microsoft’s OneDrive offers a restore feature for Office 365 subscribers whose files have been locked and Dropbox allows home users to go back up to 30 days to restore files and business users get up to 120.
Prevention is the key when it comes to ransomware. Be careful where you click, make sure you have security software enabled, and backup externally regularly.