2021 is the year of ransomware attacks; government agencies, various organizations, and big companies have been attacked by ransomware this year. However, large corporations are not the only ones under such attacks; regular people have also been victims of hackers that hold their data hostage – until they are paid. This means that you could also be a victim of a ransomware attack, which is why it is important to know what it is and how to solve the issue.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware, or ransom malware, is a type of malware that disables users' ability to access their personal files or systems on various devices. Hackers then demand money in exchange for releasing access to systems/files.
To prevent getting detected, hackers that use ransomware ask their payment be made with a credit card or via cryptocurrency. These days, everyone is vulnerable to such attacks, so you need to be careful when you go online.
How do you get ransomware?
Hackers use several methods to install ransom malware on their victims' devices. The most common way they do it is by sending malspam, or malicious spam. Malware emails contain files or links that the recipient then opens, only to find they contain malicious content.
Many people do not open files or links from unknown origins. So, how do hackers convince people to do so? By utilizing social engineering. Hackers design traps to look very convincing; they will send emails that look like the real thing, causing people to take risky action. For instance, they will send an FBI notice email or an email from your health insurance provider that looks legitimate. When you open the email, you might open a file or go to a link that will install ransomware on your devices.
How to avoid ransomware attacks?
Hackers get cleverer as time goes by, so you need to outsmart them to avoid malware installation. First, make sure that you have the latest version to protect and antivirus program on your computers. Do not avoid virus checks and keep updating your antivirus as required.
Also, do not open emails from unknown sources. In most cases, official agencies will send you notices via postal services. So, do not open files or links – even if they look legitimate. If you want to make sure that there are no pending issues, contact the agency that supposedly emailed you. Ask if they contacted you and if there are issues that need to be addressed. You can never be too careful.