What is Ransomware?
Ransomware refers to a type of malware that blocks every user from accessing the computer. The malware then asks for a certain amount of ransom to be paid to the creator of the malware in order to retrieve those files. Ransomware incidents have plagued many countries like Germany, Australia, the United States and Russia.
A Look at Its History
The first ever Ransomware was developed by Joseph Popp in 1989, and it was called ‘PC Cyborg Trojan’. It made users pay 189 USD to access their data. There have been many such instances since. In the year 2010, a Russian group created a ransomware called WinLock, which displayed pornographic messages on the infected computers of victims. Something similar also happened in the years 2011 and 2012 for British users.
What Happens After a Ransomware Attack?
Some of the Ransomware attacks are aimed at locking the system and then display items to convince the users to pay up. Other varieties of Ransomware encrypt files on the hard disk. Ransomware infiltrate the host system in a way similar to the way a computer worm does. They attack the computer’s firewall through a flaw in the network or a downloaded file. These programs slowly encrypt the user’s files on his hard disk. The decryption code rests with the malware creator and can be procured from him by giving him the required sum of money.
Some of the computers infected by ransomware use illegal content and scareware. This is a method adopted by the hacker to coax the victim into paying money.
How to Prevent the Damage
Strong antivirus, antispyware, and firewall settings are the perfect weapons through which you can combat such sophisticated threats. In order to avoid this mishap, install the latest version of your browser and update all the automatic definitions. Ransomware generally enters the computer in the form of a Trojan horse, through a browser, while users visit rogue websites.
A simple and safe way to secure your computer against Ransomware is to have an entire backup of all your data at a place where it is not connected to Internet. This storage should be updated on a regular basis.
If you work in a company, make it a point not to install your own software onto the computer or connect unauthorized devices to the network. Malware enter the network through gaming sites, social networking sites, and gambling forums. Avoid these spheres as they pose as a serious threat to business assets.
What Can You do if Your PC is Infected by Ransomware?
It is essential to remember that it isn’t possible to hijack all your data and the people who threaten you to do so are just posing. However, it is a bigger problem if the Ransomware has encrypted some of your important files. Being prepared is a good option to avert Ransomware attacks. The best possible way is to maintain a backup of all your important business data.
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