What is Ransomware & how to protect your computer?
As computer security technology advances, so have hackers’ mechanisms to compromise that security. Businesses and individuals are all at risk of these fraudsters hence the need to stay updated with the latest security tools to protect your identity and company data. You can find free antivirus to protect your devices, but most can be compromised hence the need to find a reliable antivirus to get maximum protection. Before delving further, it is vital that you understand Ransomware and how it works.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is malicious software that hackers send victims to take control of their data and hold them at ransom. They send this software through phishing emails that trick you into clicking on malicious software that gives the hacker access to your online accounts. The hacker can prevent you from accessing specific data on your computer or limit your access to important websites. You have to pay a particular amount of money within a set duration to the hacker to regain control of your data.
How does it work?
The software limits an organization or individual access to their files and data. It encrypts the files and prevents your passwords from operating normally. The hacker can manipulate your data, send it to third parties or even delete the same if you fail to comply with their demands. In most cases, the fraudster will demand a particular amount to send you the decryption key. Attackers take advantage of weakened security systems to get control of your computers through various vectors. Attackers can send you phishing emails. These emails contain malware links installed on your device once you click them. The malware quickly downloads and installs itself in the background without your knowledge. Another popular vector is the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). With this vector, the hacker figures out your login credentials and then downloads and installs the malware remotely. Once under their control, they can manipulate your data and force you to comply with their demands. The second step after installing the malware involves encrypting data and files. The attacker selects the most vital files and deletes all system backup, then introduces their key to lock you out. Once the files are encrypted, you cannot access them without the hacker’s decryption keys.
The final step involves asking for the ransom. The hacker prepares a ransom demand that appears whenever you attempt to access the encrypted files. You may notice a ransom note displayed in the background directing you on how to pay and access your files. Most hackers these days demand payment in cryptocurrency since you cannot reverse such a transaction. Once paid, the attacker provides you with encryption keys that you can use to decrypt and access the files.
How can you protect your computer?
There are several ways of protecting your devices against such attacks. One, you can create cyber awareness amongst workers in an organization. Let workers know about phishing emails and how to identify them to avoid falling victim to such attacks. Two, backup your data and files continuously such that you will always have the upper hand in case of an attack. If an attacker takes control of your files, you can ignore them, recover from your backup and add a layer of protection. Third, you can use patching to prevent third parties from accessing your data. Ensure that you have the latest patches, as attackers always take advantage of loopholes and vulnerabilities to access your system.
Which software is the safest?
You can use various software to protect your data from ransomware hackers. Take your time to research online for companies selling antivirus software that you can use on your devices. Take note that there are hackers who pose as antivirus dealers only to sell you malware and then demand ransomware. Go through these dealers and reviews and ask for advice from previous users.