Ransomware is a type of malware that demands payment from a victim. This virus works by encrypting all of the user’s files or locking them out of their system. Once the files are compromised, the cybercriminal asks for a ransom in exchange for a decryption key.
Victims are often charged a large sum of money, ranging from 200 to thousands of dollars. The victims are also required to make the payment in Bitcoin.
How Is Ransomware Spread?
The malware lands on the victim’s computer through phishing emails that include attachments with the virus. On some occasions, the victims encounter the virus by visiting a website and clicking a malicious link that leads to drive-by download. The downloaded files install the malware program onto the system automatically and without the user’s consent.
Crypto ransomware, which encrypts the user’s files, is shared through social media platforms, mainly through instant messaging applications. However, the virus can also be spread when users access unprotected web servers.
What Happens After You’re Infected by Ransomware?
The malware targets businesses and individuals alike. If you are infected with the virus, you may temporarily lose access to critical and confidential documents–or sometimes permanently if you can’t remediate the problem.The virus can also prevent you from accessing and using your computer altogether. Affected organizations can also lose credibility and earn a negative reputation in the industry if a large ransomware attack is mentioned in the media.
Moreover, if you are affected by the virus, there is no assurance that you will be given the decryption key after paying the ransom amount. If you agree to pay the ransom, the attacker is also often provided with your bank information, thus placing you at an even greater risk. And even if the hacker provides you with a decryption key to grant you access to your data again, there is no guarantee that they’ve removed the malware from your computer.That means it could lock your files all over again in the future.
How You Can Stay Protected
As attackers are coming up with creative ways to exploit businesses and individuals, it is vital to stay vigilant and take protective measures.
You can safeguard yourself from becoming a victim of ransomware by regularly maintaining backups of your valuable data. It is essential to know that network-connected backups can also be compromised by malware. Therefore, you must also keep critical backups separate from the network.
Moreover, you can also install updated operating systems with robust security and anti-virus programs and avoid clicking on links in emails. Organizations can also block and limit the access of users to potentially threatening websites.
Last, it’s wise to educate end users about the risk of ransomware and help them understand how to spot it and how they can avoid it. Be sure to invest in an education program to keep your network secure.
Ransomware can result in the loss of crucial data. Therefore, it is essential to take a wide variety of precautions to protect your personal information or your sensitive business data.
If you want to protect your data from cyber attacks, head to DataLocker and check out their anti-malware products, which can automatically find and destroy malicious software the moment a user tries to store it on a secure drive.