Last May, the world was introduced to the world of ransomware by WannaCry – a malware that affected millions of computers all around the world. Even before WannaCry, ransomware has already existed and victimized people. However, their usual targets were mere small businesses and individual users. WannaCry was one of the first ones to do such a large scale attack affecting 200,000 computers on its first few hours.But what exactly is a ransomware? A ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files and blocks users from accessing them. Subsequently, the ransomware creator demands money from users in order for them to gain access to the files again. The amount demanded varies depending on what ransomware affected your system. Usually, the ransomware gives you a time limit on when you can pay them or else they’ll make your files unrecoverable or increase their demands. Ransomware usually asks payments in Bitcoins, a crypto-currency, as it is untraceable and will keep the creator of the ransomware safe.
How can ransomware get into your system?
Ransomware can get into your system in many ways. Here are three main ways thow you can be infected by ransomware:
Have you experienced those emails offering you senseless stuff? Most of them are spam emails that try to entice you with different kinds of offers. Nowadays, most of these are constructed creatively that a lot of people fall for the bait. Once you click the link they sent or download the file attached, ransomware immediately penetrates your computer system. It is very important that you do not download any file or click any link attached to an email from someone you do not know even if it’s very tempting or sounds urgent. Some of these phishing emails even mask themselves as purchases you’ve made online, rewards you suddenly won without even entering any contest, or simply a random gift from a stranger.
There are tons of malicious websites out there in the internet hoping to victimize people. They either try to get your data, steal your money, or install an unwanted program in your system. There are different kinds of malicious websites a ransomware can hide in. One of the most dangerous ones is the type of website that’s exactly identical with a legitimate website. They try to fool you by making you think that you visited the right website. Another example is through advertisements from adult pornographic sites. These websites have the highest probability to have ransomwares injected in them hoping to catch a victim. Just like the previous example, think twice before you click. With these types of websites, it’s highly encouraged to look at the address link very closely. A simple change in a letter might cause you your personal data.
Who are the targets of ransomware?
Ransomware applications started targeting random individuals at first. However, as time passed, they discovered that they can earn a lot of profit by targeting big companies and corporations. When sensitive data of these companies are held captive, they are forced to pay a ransom in order to retrieve their valuable information.
How do I protect myself from these ransomwares?
The best way to protect yourself from ransomware is to be cautious and carefully install new programs. As the saying goes, never talk to strangers. Always verify the sender first before downloading or clicking any links so that no ransomware can get into your system.
Additionally, you can also opt to backup your files in another place like a cloud-based file sharing service or another physical hard drive so that when your files are compromised, you do not need to pay the ransom to get them back. We suggest that you get a cloud-based file sharing service that automatically backups your system so that you do not need to manually backup, opening the possibility of forgetting.
Lastly, you can also check your online accounts if your login credentials or information has been compromised. LoginAlarm offers a free scan that will check your email address against its database of known hacks and breaches. Get your free scan here.