Ransomware is malware for data kidnapping, an exploit in which the attacker encrypts the victim’s data and then demands payment for the decryption key.
A ransomware malware program may also be called a cryptovirus, cryptotrojan or cryptoworm. Ransomware spreads in many different ways, including;
- through e-mail attachments
- infected programs
- compromised websites
Let’s take a deeper look.
How Ransomware Spreads
- Spam email campaigns that contain malicious links or attachments (there are plenty of forms that malware can use for disguise on the web);
- Through SPAM Emails.
- Security exploits within vulnerable software.
- Internet traffic redirects to malicious websites.
- SMS messages (which apply to ransomware that targets mobile devices)
- Self-propagation (spreading from one infected computer to another)
- Affiliate schemes in ransomware-as-a-service (earning a share of the profits by helping spread ransomware further).
How to Protect Computers from Ransomware:
We’ve seen too many cries for help and too many people confused and panicking about a ransomware attack. So, if you’re worried about ransomware, here are 15 things that you can do to stay safe:
- Don’t store important data on your PC only – have a backup
- Have two backups of your data, one on an external hard drive and the other in the cloud – Dropbox/Google Drive/etc
- The Dropbox/Google Drive/OneDrive application on your computer should not turn on by default. Only open them once a day if you need to sync data, and close them once this is done.
- Keep your operating system and the software you use up to date, including the latest security updates.
- For daily use, don’t use an administrator account on your computer, instead, use a guest account with limited privileges.
- Turn off macros in the Microsoft Office suite – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
- Remove the following plugins from your browser(s): Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Java and Silverlight. If you absolutely must use them, set the browser to ask you if you want to activate these plugins when needed.
- Adjust your browsers’ security and privacy settings for increased protection.
- Remove outdated plugins and add-ons from your browsers. Only keep the ones you use on a daily basis.
- Use an ad blocker to avoid the threat of potentially malicious ads.
- Never open spam emails or emails from unknown senders.
- Never download attachments from spam emails or suspicious emails.
- Never click links in spam emails or suspicious emails.
- Always use a reliable, paid anti-virus product that includes an automatic update module and a real-time scanner.
- Make sure you understand the importance of having a traffic-filtering solution that can provide proactive anti-ransomware protection.
For more information on how to stay secure online, click here.
Also, take a look at our IT support services.
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