Ransomware, or hacking your computer and holding it hostage by cybercriminals, is on the rise. This is especially true if your computer security protocols don’t work or are outdated Ransomware decryptor.
Over the past few months, we have seen many businesses targeted. It is an effective and easy way to get your hard-earned cash. And it can even be done from thousands miles away.
What is Ransomware? Symantec describes Ransomware as an online extortion scheme. Malware can lock or disable your computer in some way, then demand payment in the form a “fine” in order to make your computer usable again. Ransomware messages, like most scams, claim to be from legitimate organizations, such as government agencies or public corporations, in an attempt to convince victims they committed a crime to receive the fine.
The fine is not worth paying, as the original malware must be manually deleted.
The ransomware scam has grown in popularity over recent years. However, Symantec reported that 2012 saw an increase in the number and complexity of ransomware campaigns. This is due to an increase in global criminal gangs that use this scheme to make money.
I have received a lot of spam emails that appear to be fishing emails. These emails include emails from Qantas and Jetstar, Facebook, and even one from Microsoft. These emails are not real, and they do not attempt to convince me to click on the link or download an attachment. These emails look real and convincing. However, it is only after you examine the content that you realize it is an attempt at hacking into your computer network.
You can get the virus to your computer from many places. Emails are one way, but you also have the option to load it onto your network or computer through the internet. Other sites, such as those that offer links to the latest version of Adobe Flash Player or PDF Viewer, will often point you in the wrong direction. File sharing sites are another way that this virus can be downloaded to your computer. The Trojan is hidden within the files, and your system will be compromised if you download and install it.
Ransomware is a weakness that once you are aware of what to look for, it is easy to avoid and spot. It’s a good idea to inform all employees who work on your computers and networks about what to look out for. I have compiled a list that will help you protect your computer or network from being infected. Prevention is better than treatment, and there are simple rules that can be followed to stop cyber criminals from getting your data.
- Keep your anti-virus and anti-malware software up to date by installing and updating it regularly.Anti-virus tools such as McAfee, Kaspersky, and Norton are excellent. Norton is my anti-virus tool at work. It updates itself every 30 seconds, keeps our network safe from malware and intrusions, and it also protects us many times a year.
- 2.You should set your computer to automatically download Microsoft software updates.These include security updates and tools to remove malware. These tools can be downloaded and installed on your computer if it isn’t already. Please read this article to learn how.
- 3.Backup your computer each night and create restore points to allow your computer to be restored to the time it was before you were infected.You should also keep the backup in another location if possible to ensure it doesn’t get affected.
- 4.Avoid downloading files from file sharing sites. They can be a breeding ground for computer viruses.
- 5.Never click or download an attachment from an email.Even if the sender is known and trusted, ensure that the attachment is virus-free by first scanning it with your antivirus software. Cybercriminals may steal contact addresses and send phishing email to all addresses.
- 6.You should be cautious about the emails that Facebook or other social networks send you asking for friend requests or offering special deals.These notifications may appear genuine. Make sure to thoroughly check them. You should not be compelled to click every link that you see on these sites. Always double-check. If you find anything suspicious, immediately delete it.
- 7.Safe browsing is essential when surfing the internet.Never click on a link that says your software is outdated or that your computer is at danger. Only download the latest versions from the developer sites.
- 8.Do not click on banners or link on websites you do not know.
There are many anti Malware programs that can be used to detect if your computer has been compromised. These include Norton Power Eraser and Microsoft Security Essentials. These programs will inform you if your computer is infected, and provide instructions on how to get rid of it.
If your computer is locked and cannot be accessed, contact a computer expert who can advise you whether ransomware can or cannot be removed and the steps to take. This is a different article.
Do not make the payment of ransom your first step! !
Prevention is always better than cure.
Mike Andrew has been involved in the Internet and small business world for more than 12 years. Mike has spoken at seminars and conventions around the globe and led social media training sessions. Mike has a rich media history, including his appearance as Channel Nine News’ IT and social media expert. Mike specializes in search engine marketing, social media and Internet strategy. His articles are published on many blogs and national magazines.