You’ve probably heard of ransomware, or at least seen its effects on your Facebook friends’ computers. But what is it, exactly? And how do you protect yourself from getting infected by it? Read on for a brief look at the history and future of this malicious bitcoin buyer platform, as well as some tips for locking your computer against it.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is malware that blocks access to your computer or network until you pay a ransom. You probably already know this, but it’s worth repeating. The ransom payment occurs in cryptocurrency.
The malware distributes through phishing emails or infected websites disguised as legitimate sites and services, including Google Docs and Adobe Flash player updates. The malware can spread to other computers on the same network using local or remote access, depending on how it’s configured.
How They Do It
A ransomware attack occurs when a malicious software program, or malware, is installed on your computer and blocks access. The malicious software will usually claim to be from law enforcement and threaten you with criminal charges if you don’t pay a ransom within a certain amount of time, often several hundred dollars. If you pay the ransom, they will provide the decryption key needed to unlock the files on your computer.
How to Protect Yourself
Update your operating system and software. Ensure you have the latest versions of everything, including your operating system (Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux), browsers, and other programs you use to access the internet.
- Use strong passwords on all accounts that require them. If you reuse passwords across multiple accounts or use a weak password such as “12345” or “password1,” your computer is at risk of being hacked by cybercriminals.
- Backup your files regularly! This will help protect against ransomware attacks because if they lock up all of your data, then there won’t be anything left after paying up! Having backups keeps this from happening since no matter what happens, they’ll still have something left afterward instead of having nothing.
What to Do if You’re Hit
If you do get hit, the good news is that there are several options available to you. A simple way to avoid ransomware infection is to back up your data regularly (and be sure it’s not on an external hard drive connected to your computer). You can also install antivirus software and update your software with regularity. This will help keep hackers from using vulnerabilities in the code for their benefit.
- Use a firewall: Firewalls monitor activity in real-time, allowing you to block any suspicious files or activity from entering or leaving your computer
- Use antivirus software: Antivirus programs can detect and remove existing malware as well as prevent future attempts at infection through various methods such as email scanning and website blocking
The Future of Ransomware
Ransomware is a growing problem, but it’s not going away soon. Ransomware has become so profitable for cyber criminals that people will always be willing to create new ransomware viruses.
If you’re worried about getting infected with ransomware, your best bet is to ensure that you have an up-to-date antivirus program installed on your computer. This will help protect you from most malicious software floating around in cyberspace.
If you get infected with ransomware and decide to pay the ransom, remember this doesn’t guarantee that it will decrypt your files! The only way to guarantee that it’ll restore them as if they were backed up somewhere else, like on another computer or an external hard drive.
We hope that we’ve clarified some of the questions you might have about ransomware and how to protect yourself from it. One way to protect yourself from an online scam is using bitcoin trading software while trading in cryptocurrencies. If you ever find yourself the victim of a ransomware attack, don’t panic! There are ways for victims to get their data back without paying anything. We recommend contacting experts like us at Carbonite immediately so they can help sort through what happened and restore your files safely before they get deleted by criminals.