5 Things You Need to Know About Ransomware
In today’s world, phishing and internet hackers pose big threats to not only our personal computers, but to our workplace devices, too. Check out the five things you need to know about ransomware scams.
1. Ransomware Attacks Are On The Rise
Ransomware attacks come in many shapes and sizes. In every case, it prevents the individual from using their computer and holds personal information or files for “ransom” until the user delivers hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the scammer.
The bad news? It doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. According to Microsoft, there has been a steady rise in the number of attacks within the last six months alone.
2. Lock Screen vs. Encryption Scams
The Lock Screen Scam
In this type of attack, your computer is rendered completely useless. When you try to log into your computer, all you’ll get is a message on the screen saying your computer is locked. What’s worse? You can’t gain access to anything on your device without handing over the money.
The Encryption Scam
In this case, you’ll have some access to items on your computer but can’t access any of your files due to the hacker changing the codes, a tactic known as encryption.
Both scenarios can easily happen at home or at work and have even occurred on a national level within government agencies. It’s important to be able to recognize these scams so you can take appropriate action.
3. Hackers Make Scams Believable
A ransomware attempt can be very believable, using fake law enforcement and government messages to try and assure the unassuming individual that they indeed owe money for either an offense made on their computer or for a payment due.
Do NOT pay the ransom fee. This will only make you an even larger target for future scams and in most cases, even after individuals have submitted a payment, the hackers still refuse to remove the virus from the computer.
4. Backing Up Your Computer Is Crucial
According to Symantec, there isn’t technology available to allow you back into your files or personal information once they’ve been hacked. Offering to pay the hacker is a big no-no and doesn’t guarantee you anything, anyway.
The only way to avoid major loss is to be sure you back your computer up regularly.
Restoring your files from a backup source is the fastest and most reliable way to ensure you’ll be able to regain important documents. Make backing up your computer a daily habit, and you can rest a little easier in the event of a cyber attack.
5. Education Is Key In Preventing Attacks
It may seem obvious, but the best way to avoid falling prey to ransomware is to educate yourself, your employees, and your family about ways to prevent attacks.
- Not visiting unsafe or unidentifiable websites.
- Avoiding links that have been sent to you through an unknown source.
- Refusing to give information to anyone whose correspondence includes misspelled words, glaring grammatical errors, or an otherwise overall poor presentation.
- Not clicking blindly on links to videos or articles shared through social media.
Get more tips for preventing attacks here.
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