What is Ransomware you ask? Ransomware software that is put on your computer by hackers that will encrypt (scramble) your files and forces you to pay money to get the password to un-encrypt them.
Criminals no longer need to kidnap humans to extort money. They’ve found something that’s possibly just as valuable and can be much easier to obtain: the files on your computer. This can include your pictures, your financial data, your Word and Excel documents, and anything else that is valuable to you.
This malicious software spreads through infected programs, compromised websites, and email attachments. From the moment a victim clicks the infected mode of delivery, the virus begins encrypting everything on their computer. The only way to get the password to decrypt you files is to pay the hacker money usually through cryptocurrency Bitcoin or wire transfer.
Once your files are encrypted is all but impossible to decrypt them. But there are some safeguards you can take to prevent this from happening or recover after the fact.
There are a few other precautions you can take. The FBI and its Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) have similar recommendations to protect against ransomware:
• Always backup your computer and store files offline. This is one of the most important steps you can take. It will not only protect you against this type of incident but also against computer failures and theft. I use a cloud based backup solution called iDrive. Click here for more information.
• Use antivirus software and a firewall and keep them updated.
• Turn on automated updates for your OS and web browser.
• Enable popup blockers.
• Be skeptical of websites, downloads, emails, or attachments that you are unfamiliar with.
• Use strong passwords and don’t use the same one for different accounts.
• Apply the same precautions you use on your desktop to your on your mobile phone.
But once ransomware is in your system, there is little to nothing you can do. Even the FBI says you have pretty much three options: “revert to back up systems, contact a security professional, or pay.”
If you’d like more information on how to protect your computer against this and other threats or just need some computer advice in general feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Chris Diamond is the owner of CDA Tech Pros as well as technical support and host for Designers Circle. Chris can be found at 480-422-1243