Ransomware is an umbrella term for a group of viruses that holds valuable information hostage– either by encrypting your data so that it is unreadable or by totally locking you out of your computer.
Where does the name come from?
Ransomware gets its name due to its general nature – it threatens harm by keeping your personal data captive, and demands a financial ransome in return. Unfortunately, once a computer has been infected with ransomware, there is little anyone– even the F.B.I. — can do to restore the files
Traits of Ransomware:
- Encrypting files – your files will become inaccessible.
- Taking your computer hostage – ransomware will often completely lock up you system.
- Demanding a fee – hackers will taunt with promise of a decryption key once you pay them in untraceable Bitcoins.
- Disguising in phishing scams – the victim will unknowingly download a file through file sharing or an email.
- Using social engineering – this will trick the user into allowing administrative access to the Ransomware.
- Exploiting security holes – some sophisticated Ransomware can gain access without your input, beyond the initial infiltration.
- Locky Ransomware
- Bad Rabbit Ransomware
- Petya Ransomware
- WannaCry Ransomware
How do you get Ransomware?
- Through an email file that contains a macro – this is a mini program that can perform automated tasks, such as connecting to a web server, downloading, and running unauthorized software.
- Clicking on false pop-ups – pretend ransomware attempting trick the victim into paying and then downloading the real deal.
- The KeRanger ransomware variant marked a turning point; it represents an expansion of ransomware to new platforms, including Mac computers— once a safe haven from ransomware attacks.
How to Avoid a Ransomware Infection:
- Do inform yourself by researching what’s out there.
- Do run a routine FixMeStick scan.
- Do run your antivirus software while working on your device.
- Do consistently update your operating system, antivirus software, and FixMeStick.
- Do back up your files.
- Don’t send unknown people money – even if you pay the fee, there is no guarantee you will get your files back. This also opens more traceable information to your bank account.
- Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders or strange emails.
- Don’t click on pop-ups.
- Don’t visit suspicious websites.
Want to learn more about the different types of computer viruses? Check out other blogs in our Virus Lab series below!
What is Malware and Why Does it Exist?
What is a Virus?
What is a Worm?
What is Adware?