Ransomware is one of the newest forms of malware. This specific type attempts at extorting money from the victims. Cryptolocker, one of the most common ransomware, makes the files of the infected computer inaccessible. Those files could be accessed only after paying the demanded ransom. Unlike previous decades, today’s malwares are not developed by adventurous teenagers. Nowadays, organized gangs are involved in creating these. They use the latest and most sophisticated technologies in building these malwares. Due to the rapid expansion of various online payment methods, it has become very easy for them to collect money from the victims.
Types of Ransomware
Ransomware could be of different types. The common thing about them is their tendency of claiming direct payment from the affected victims. Some ransomware apply disguises to hide their true identity. They may display pop-up boxes stating that the PC is infected and a specific software is needed to rectify the problem. Sometimes they threaten the owners by claiming that the PC has been used in illegal activities and the owner has to pay a fine. Some other ransomware locks the display and prevents the user from doing anything unless they pay the demanded amount. Nonetheless, most of the ransomware act directly. They hide deep into the computer, while displaying messages and the only way to remove them is to pay the gang. These types of malware could be rectified by running malware removal tools or re-installing Windows.
How to Battle Ransomware
Unluckily, the developers of ransomware are also aware of the common suggestions listed above. Therefore, they employ sophisticated measures to deal with these issues. For instance, Cryptolocker encrypts the personal files of the affected computer once it gains access to the system. In order to decrypt the files, the users need a specific encryption key. The ransomware displays a message in the computer screen with a limited time offer. They threaten that the encryption fees will be deleted after a certain period of time. Some victims have reported that their decryption keys were actually deleted after that. While it is not a good idea to pay the criminals and give in to their demands, but some users do not have other means of recovering their only copy of their critical files.
These malwares once again make us realize the importance of keeping backups. We should regularly backup our emergency files to a remote storage or an external hard drive. If we save all of our personal and confidential files in one place, it could be infected by a ransomware anytime. As we know that prevention is better than cure, having backups of critical files is way better than battling a ransomware. While making backups, we should select a location which does not have any writing or erasing permissions. If the backup locations are anyhow connected to our computers, a ransomware from our computer can easily attack those files too. If we can get the habit of keeping weekly backup of our important files, even the strongest and most advanced ransomware on the planet would not be able to harm us.
Following the Basic Security Rules
Along with keeping proper backups, we should also follow some basic rules in order to avoid ransomware. These malwares can penetrate into our system through the Java plug-in, email attachments or removable storages. Don’t forget to use a reliable anti-virus program, which can stop these ransomware from entering our system. Though anti-virus programs could not ensure 100 percent security, it is an indispensable inclusion in our defense strategy. Secondly, we should never execute suspicious-looking files. Before downloading or opening any such files, we should be very careful and make sure that it won’t do any harm to our system. We should install applications from trusted sources only and refrain from using pirated software. Regularly updating the software’s is very important too. An old version of the OS, browser or a plugin could act as the back-door to our system for the ransomware. If Java is installed in the computer, make sure that proper surveillance procedure is followed for the system.
What’s in the Future?
Being the latest form of malware, ransomware is very smart and intuitive. It comes with a single goal only, to extort money from the victims. Holding the important files as hostages is a very effective way of scaring most people. In such stages, anti-virus programs or malware remover tools become limited in their scopes. While the infected ones want to get back the critical files by any means, removing the ransomware does not bring back the files. As a result, they are forced to pay the amount to those criminals. These types of malware demonstrate the importance of keeping backups and following the security practices. Unfortunately, ransomware is only the beginning of the future for the gangs. In time, these developers will come up with worse ways of extorting money from us in the future. In this battle between them and us, the ordinary users, the only way to survive is to keep ourselves updated. If we follow the latest security trends and apply them accordingly, the chances of being affected by such malwares will decrease dramatically.
With all of that said, common sense is your biggest ally. If something is too good to be true, it normally never is. The next time before you install anything that you’ve downloaded from an untrusted source, think carefully if you could be the next victim.