“Blessed are the poor in spirit”. For theirs is the heaven of IT where they see or hear no evil such as ransomware attacks. But is this really the case? Can good old common sense habits protect us from this type of cybercrime? Ransomware attacks are known to have started in the early 2000s. In 2017 alone, they are estimated to account for more than $2.3 million in losses, just in the U.S. So, what exactly are ransomware attacks and how can they be avoided?
Defining the Obvious
Ransomware attacks are just what the name implies: malware (malicious programs) that encrypt the data from your device or even across an entire network. Victims are promised to regain access to their information and devices if they pay a certain ransom to the criminals who started the attack.
But how does it actually happen? One of the most common methods used by criminals is sending phishing spam. These are attachments to the victim’s emails that appear to be credible. After these attachments have been downloaded and opened, they can actually gain control over his or her computer, especially if the victim has built-in social engineering tools that make the user allow admin access.
Another method used by ransomware criminals is through exploit kits. These are malicious tools used by hackers to find security weaknesses in programs that have not been updated. After weaknesses have been detected, the hacker then inserts the ransomware inside the device.
What to Do About It
The following are a few ways to turn ransomware into harmless action:
• Update your device’s software: in order to prevent malware criminals from taking advantage of your device’s weaknesses, make it show none. Make sure you update its software regularly, preferably directly from the vendor’s website, since hackers often disguise their malicious programs as credible software updating notifications.
• Utilize a backup system: if your computer does get hacked and you are asked for a ransom in exchange for data, the best thing you can do is to not pay it, because the chances of you actually getting the data back are very small. If you regularly back up your information, you can recover the last back up and go on with your life.
• Acquire comprehensive antivirus: last but not least, ensure you use a complex antivirus that confers ransomware defense, as well. Often, these suites are available for just a few dollars per month, and provide proper protection against these types of cyber threats. Considering the risks, it’s worth it.
In a (digital) world where criminals only care about the benefits they can get from you, make sure you safeguard your device against ransomware attacks by taking these steps. Then, you can carry on with pursuing your goals and dreams, stress-free.
Best Antivirus Software of 2020