What is Ransomware?

There are many different threats in the digital age which can attack our software and harm our computers. One such threat comes from the variation of malware known as ransomware.

What is It?

Ransomware is a type of software which takes over your computer and denies you access to your data. It usually also encrypts your data with a sophisticated encryption that cannot be broken unless you pay the ransom; even if you manage to gain control of your computer in the meantime.

To get your data back, you have to pay the ransom which can be anywhere from several hundred dollars to in the thousands. Cybercriminals usually prefer this ransom to be paid into their Bitcoin accounts.

What Happens When a Computer is Infected by Ransomware?

Like many other types of malware, ransomware enters a computer through phishing scams in emails. More aggressive varieties can also infect computers without tricking the users beforehand. It will then encrypt files with a unique key that only the attacker will know.

The first time you will become aware of the ransomware is when it locks you out of the system. The only thing you will be able to see onscreen is a message from the attacker with instructions on how to send the ransom. There may even be a timer with a threat to increase the ransom if the fine isn’t paid.

Attackers have claimed to be members of various law enforcement agencies while others just demand the money without placing a name to their business.

How Can I Prevent Ransomware?

While it is difficult to deal with ransomware once it is on your computer, there are some definite steps you can take to protect yourself from it.

Make sure you have the latest patches for both your operating system and your anti-virus software and be sure to run scans frequently to make sure nothing is lurking in your system. Don’t download and install software or files if you do not know exactly what they are and make sure you back up your sensitive data frequently.

If you are concerned about ransomware or other digital threats, Novus IT provide managed services to help keep your network secure. Contact them today.

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