In one time in our internet browsing lives we may have come across to what is referred to as Ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. As silly as it sounds it is a real thing. Ransomware attackers force their victims to pay the ransom through specifically noted payment methods after which they grant the victims access to their computers or to their data. The attacker usually pretends to be local law enforcement, demanding a “fine” to be paid in order to avoid arrest and to unlock their computers.
There are two types of Ransomware – lockscreen and encryption
Lockscreen Ransomware shows a full-screen message that prevents you from accessing your PC
or files. It says you have to pay money (a “ransom”) to get access to your PC again. Usually they claim you have done something illegal with your PC, and that you are being fined by a police force or government agency. These claims of course are false. It is a scare tactic designed to make you pay the money.
Encryption Ransomware changes your files so you can’t open them. It does this by encrypting the files on your PC so you can’t access them, and then simply demand money to restore your files.
Ransomware can get on your PC from nearly any source that any other malware (including viruses) can come from. This includes:
- Visiting unsafe, suspicious, or fake websites.
- Opening emails and email attachments from people you don’t know, or that you weren’t expecting.
- Clicking on malicious or bad links in emails, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media posts, instant messenger chats, like Skype.
It can be very difficult to restore your PC after a Ransomware attack – especially if it’s infected by Encryption Ransomware. The best solution to Ransomware is to just be safe be safe on the Internet
- Don’t click on a link on a webpage, in an email, or in a chat message unless you absolutely trust the page or sender.
- If you’re ever unsure – don’t click it!
- Often fake emails and webpages have bad spelling, or just look unusual. Look out for strange spellings of company names (like “PayePal” instead of “PayPal”) or unusual spaces, symbols, or punctuation (like “iTunesCustomer Service” instead of “iTunes Customer Service”).
- Make sure any Anti-Virus/Malware program you are using is up to date. Most Ransomewares have been discovered already and can be removed automatically by Anti-Virus/malware programs.
What happens if you are a victim of Ransomware?
- There is no guarantee that the attacker will supply a method to unlock your computer or decrypt your files. You are only encouraging the bad behavior. Also, the attacker uses the ransom money to fund additional attacks against other users.
- Restore Damaged fines from a good backup.
- If the Ransomeware is effecting your web browser you can try to unlock your browser by using Task Manager to stop the web browser’s process. When you open your web browser again, you may be asked to restore your session. Do not restore your session or you may end up loading the Ransomware again. Start a new session and never visit or click to what led you to that Ransomeware website again.
- Consider implementing an Anti-Virus/Malware program, but default windows defender should help out if implemented or updated.
“The more you know”