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Why we fear ransomware attacks

Ransomware is not just something that happens to other people – it can also happen to you. Here’s how to protect yourself.

ransomware data hacker
Image: Unsplash

If you’re like most people, you probably think of ransomware as something that happens to others. After all, it’s a scary word with an ominous-looking logo: a locked padlock with a sinister-looking skull and crossbones.

But ransomware is not just something that happens to other people – it can also happen to you.

In fact, according to the FBI, ransomware attacks are now one of the top threats businesses, and individuals face across the globe.

Why is it feared? Well, for one thing, they’re incredibly destructive.

Ransomware encrypts important files on your computer, and then the attacker will demand money from you to unlock them – which can be a huge pain in the neck if you need those files urgently.

Worse, if your personal information (like bank account numbers or login credentials) is exposed during a ransomware attack, it can leave you vulnerable to identity theft and financial harm.

Thankfully, there are ways of protecting yourself from ransomware attacks.

So whether you’re a business owner or an individual victim of this type of attack, don’t let yourself be caught unaware – take ransomware protection now and stay safe!

How do ransomware attacks work?

florida pays malware ransom
Image: Corporate Bytes

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your files and demands a ransom to decrypt them.

It can spread through email attachments, malicious websites, or by exploiting vulnerabilities in your system.

Once it’s on your computer, it will expose your personal information, scan for specific types of files and encrypt them. The most common file types targeted are office documents, pictures, videos, and databases.

You’ll know you’ve been hit with ransomware when you see a message demanding a ransom (usually in Bitcoin) to decrypt your files.

The attacker will usually give you a time limit to pay the ransom, after which they’ll delete the key needed to decrypt your files or increase the amount they’re asking for.

Ransomware is becoming increasingly common and sophisticated, so it’s important to have good ransomware protection in place.

Bitdefender’s ransomware protection uses behavioral detection to block ransomware before it can encrypt your files.

It also includes a special safe mode that prevents any changes from being made to your system until the threat has been removed.

How can I protect myself from ransomware attacks?

identity theft hacker
Image: Pixabay

It’s no secret that ransomware attacks are on the rise. In fact, they’ve become so common that the FBI estimates that there is now a new victim every 10 seconds.

That’s a lot of people who are suddenly faced with the prospect of losing all their important files unless they pay up.

When it comes to ransomware, you might ask yourself – is my personal information exposed? The short answer is: maybe.

But there are a few things we have mentioned below that you can do to protect yourself:

1. Keep your software up to date

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to ensure that all your software – including your operating system and any anti-virus/anti-malware program you’re using – is up to date.

Outdated software can have security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to get into your system.

2. Use strong passwords

Another way to make it harder for hackers to get into your system is using strong passwords.

That means using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters – and making sure each password is unique (so you’re not using the same password for everything).

3. Be cautious about email attachments

One of the most common ways ransomware spreads is via email attachments.

So be cautious about opening any attachment – even if it looks like it’s from someone you know – unless you’re absolutely sure it’s safe.

If in doubt, contact the person who sent it to confirm before opening anything.

4. Back up your data regularly

This tip won’t help you if you’ve already been infected with ransomware, but it will help you recover more easily if an attack does happen.

Make sure you have regular backups of all your important files so that if worst comes to worst, you can just restore them from backup rather than paying the ransom demand.

5. Use a VPN

vpn on laptop
Image: Unsplash

A VPN (virtual private network) encrypts all of the traffic between your device and the VPN server.

That means if somebody tries to intercept your traffic – whether they’re trying as part of a targeted attack or just trying to snoop on public Wi-Fi – they won’t be able to read any of it.

A VPN also hides your IP address, making it harder for anybody to track you online.

What should I do if I’m the victim of a ransomware attack?

If you’re the victim of a ransomware attack, you can do a few things to protect yourself and your personal information.

First, you should ensure that all your important files are backed up safely. This way, if your computer is infected with ransomware, you’ll still have access to your important files.

Second, you should install a reliable anti-virus program. This will help to protect your computer from future attacks.

Finally, if you think your personal information may have been exposed in the attack, you should change all of your passwords and contact any companies or organizations that may have been affected.

How can I tell if a ransomware attack is happening?

There are a few key indicators that your computer may have been infected with ransomware:

  • Your computer suddenly slows down or crashes for no apparent reason.
  • You see unusual or unexpected error messages.
  • Files on your computer start behaving oddly, such as being unable to be opened or renamed.
  • Your computer is locked, and you see a message demanding payment to regain access. This message will usually include instructions on making the payment, typically done through an untraceable online currency such as Bitcoin.

If you suspect your computer has been infected with ransomware, you should first disconnect from the internet and power off your machine.

This will prevent the ransomware from encrypting any more of your files and stop it from spreading to other computers on your network.

Next, contact a professional who can help you remove the malware and restore any encrypted files.

Finally, be sure to take steps to protect yourself in the future by installing reliable security software and backing up your data regularly.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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