What is Ransomware and How to Prevent It
A quickly moving new form of ransomware attacks is affecting numerous countries across the world, including major countries like the United States, Russia, and France. Ransomware has been increasingly popular for the past several years, and some of the recent attacks show us just how big of a threat these attacks really are.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a fairly new kind of malware that keeps or limits people from using their systems by either locking the screen or by locking the user’s files until a ransom has been paid. Modern users of ransomware, more commonly known as crypto-ransomware, will encrypt files or file types on your system which then forces you to pay the ransomware user via an online payment system.
Behavior of Ransomware
There are several ways in which you may experience ransomware. Ransomware can get onto your computer by simply visiting a malicious or compromised website. It can also get onto your computer as some sort of payload, getting dropped or downloaded onto your PC via other malware. Ransomware has also been known to be delivered via attachments on spammy emails, and if you open the attachment, the ransomware is now on your computer.
Once the ransomware has access to your system, it can either lock up your computer entirely, or it can only lock up certain predetermined files. If the first option happens, a full-screen image will appear on your PC, which will prevent you from using the computer at all. This image will also give you instructions on how you can pay the hacker their ransom. The second kind of ransomware will prevent you from using important files. When you try to use them, you will also receive instructions on how to pay the ransom.
Ransomware is often referred to as “scareware” as it forces people to pay the ransom out of fear and intimidation. If you think about it, it’s quite similar to the idea of kidnapping.
How to Avoid Getting Ransomware?
There are several ways to avoid getting ransomware on your PC. The first is to back up important files on a regular basis. These backups shouldn’t be kept on the same computer, or any computer at all. Use external hard drives such as Google Drive to back up these files.
Another way to prevent ransomware is to make sure that all your devices software is up to date. Software programmers like Microsoft have some of the best and brightest minds in the world working for them. Thousands of computer and computer security experts that work to prevent attacks like ransomware from happening. So make sure that you are updating your software whenever you get a notification saying that’s it’s time for an update.
The third way to avoid getting ransomware is a simple one, develop better online browsing habits. It should be common sense to never open an email from someone that you don’t know, as the chances of that email containing a form of malware are much higher. Opening that email could be helping hackers to access your sensitive information. Also, don’t click on any unfamiliar links from sources that you don’t trust. And never download anything that you don’t know exactly what it is. Many of the internet browsers available have extensions that can help you determine if a file is safe to download or not, or if a website is trustworthy. These extensions only take a couple of seconds to install and come with a lot of technical support from the developers.
Lastly, there’s the option of getting a third-party software that’s designed to protect your systems from malware attacks. There are many different options available, but some of these programs seem to stand a cut above the rest. Some of the most popular, and most recommended software’s include Bitdefender (you can find Bitdefender at https://www.bitdefender.com/), Kaspersky (you can find Kaspersky at https://usa.kaspersky.com/), and Malwarebytes ( you can find Malwarebytes at https://www.malwarebytes.com/). Click here if you want to learn more about some of these software programs, or other alternatives that might work for you.
Ransomware is an up and coming threat to our online security that everyone needs to take seriously. There’s no need to avoid technology altogether for fear of getting malware on your device, just be safe when browsing the internet. Follow the steps mentioned above and you will be just fine.