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Tips to Avoid a Ransomware Attack

The majority of online threats are a form of malware, or computer software with malicious intent. Ransomware is one method that encrypts a victim’s computer files, making them inaccessible to the victim. The attacker will then demand a ransom to restore access to the files upon payment. To avoid a ransomware attack, what should you know?

How Ransomware Works

During this frightening experience, your computer screen will be replaced with a message. It may appear to be from the police or FBI demanding money, or claim your files are lost unless a ransom is paid to unlock them.

One of the most prevalent variants of ransomware is CTB-Locker, which encrypts files on a  hard disk, before demanding a ransom to decrypt the files. It can happen in five steps:

  1. You receive spam with malware
  2. The malware downloads the “Locker” virus
  3. The virus encrypts your files
  4. You’re given a ransom notice with a deadline
  5. You’re required to pay via TOR, an anonymity network

How to Prevent or Respond to Ransomware

Did you know the United States is the most hacked country worldwide? To avoid your personal or business files being seized in a ransomware attack:

  1. Avoid pirate sites, which are often infested with malware.
  2. Perform regular backups to protect your files and personal data.
  3. Do not pay. The police or FBI will not lock your computer or demand money.

Unfortunately, getting past the lock screen doesn’t always mean the virus is gone. Contact an IT professional to ensure the threat has been completely removed from your computer.

In some cases, strong encryption can be impossible to break and your files could be gone forever. To combat this, experts recommend using cloud-based services like Google Drive, Amazon, Dropbox and Flickr to store documents, music, videos and photos to save your computer files from being destroyed by malware.

To prevent ransomware and other computer attacks, it’s important to stay educated. For more information on security risks, visit our blog!

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