You wake up and start your day just like every other. You log in to your computer. But your computer doesn’t boot up and instead gets locked. In the midst of this, you see a message being displayed that demands payment in the form of money or bitcoins. You don’t know what to do and you panic. Now that is a ransomware attack.
Ransomware attacks are increasing day by day. There are many people and even organizations that don’t know about and thus are unaware of it. No matter how much clean your PC is, there are still viruses that stay in it. One of them is ransomware.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is malicious software or malware which restricts your access to your computer or mobile by keeping you locked out. As the name suggests, this software kidnaps all your sensitive data in exchange for a ransom i.e Money. To recover that data, you need to pay the hacker the required sum so that you can access the data again.
How Does A Ransomware Attack work?
Unlike Hitman, this virus isn’t a great fan of stealth. This virus makes its presence know in one form or the other. It infects your computer or mobile and starts feeding on your data by encrypting every possible ounce of data. So what you accessed before going to bed may not be accessible the very next morning. This is exactly what we call a ransomware attack.
Once all the files are encrypted, the malware locks you out of your device. To regain access, you have to pay up, either in terms of money or bitcoins. And the sum asked by the attackers is a huge one. It is impossible to know which file might contain malware. Be it a simple image or company classified document, the virus can be in anything.
Kaspersky had declared Ransomware as the biggest threat of 2016. In 2016, it was reported that ransomware attackers took off with over $1.6 billion in the mass ransomware attack. But encrypted data isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about. In addition to encryption, it is said that the hackers may even steal your data for further leverage or as an insurance policy. Small and medium-sized businesses are affected the highest, owing to poor security training and web protection.
From individuals to governments, this malware hasn’t left anyone out of the picture. The good news is that the past few months have seen a slight decline in ransomware cases. But as technology advances, this malware will always remain a threat
How To Protect Your Device Against Ransomware?
There are several steps you can take to protect your data from this malware. These steps are simple security practices that have to be done regularly.
- Constantly keep in touch with your Operating System and make sure it is up-to-date and patched up
- Always make sure your device asks you for permission before installing any new application or software.
- Get the best antivirus software installed for your device. Once installed, make sure you scan your system regularly once a week. This will keep out files and data that might harm your device
- BACK UP your files frequently. This will significantly reduce the damage if ransomware strikes.