We like to live in the present and hope that everything will be fine in the future. But, it is better to install the alarm in your house before the thief comes, than after he has been there, isn’t it? So, that is why I would like to write about different sorts of security issues online, what they are, and how you can protect yourself against them. In this first post, I would like to write more about something called ransomware.
What is Ransomware?
Maybe you have heard about spyware and malware? Malware programs always come with malicious intentions. It is there to destroy and steal. There might be bugs in software as well, but since the intention is good, it isn’t called malware.
But, when your device gets infected with malware, one can be certain that there is some bad intention in the background.
So, what is ransomware? What does it do?
If you have seen some action movies, you have for sure heard the expression ransom. Somebody takes hostages, and they demand money as a ransom to set the person free.
When ransomware is installed on your device, it takes your files or your entire storage captive. They do this by encrypting the files stored there, and the only way you can access those is by paying to get the key to unencrypt the files.
Normally such hackers will require you to pay them with Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency, and once the payment has been made, you will get the key to unlocking the files and you can yet again use them. Since payment is done with cryptocurrencies, ransomware is often referred to as cryptolocking among many people, simply because your content is locked, and the way to unlock it, is by using cryptocurrencies.
Is there a way to fix this without paying?
Unfortunately, the files are normally encrypted with a high level of encryption, so the only way to get access to the files again is by getting the code. This cannot be fixed with an antivirus program.
You can get rid of the actually ransomware running on your computer. You can delete viruses. But, since the files have already been encrypted, the only way to fix the actual files is by getting the encryption key.
How to be one step ahead?
Luckily, the most popular targets for ransomware are banks, universities, law-companies, and more. Normally the hackers “only” ask for somewhere between $500-$2000. That is an amount many are willing to pay, simply to get the problem out of the world. It is also something they can pay quickly, as they don’t need to go big rounds in order to get that sort of money.
Even though companies are targeted, it is better to be one step ahead no matter what. How can you be that?
- Keep all your programs and operating systems up to date.
- Install an antivirus program and keep it up to date.
- Don’t install programs you do not trust or feel insecure about.
- Look around on the Internet if you feel insecure about something you want to install or fix.
- Don’t give permissions to programs that you don’t trust.
This is my first article in a series on computer and online security. I hope you have enjoyed it, and if I find it to be a success, I will write more on similar topics in the future!
Take care everyone and stay safe online.