Ransomware – it’s been a thorn in our side since the conception of the internet. According to the U.S Justice Department, there have been over 4,000 ransomware attacks on a daily basis since 2016. Ransomware is a form of malicious software that is designed to block access to parts of the computer it is installed on, until the user pays an amount of money.
If you are unfortunate enough to fall victim to one of these attacks, the consequences can be costly. There are measures you can take to recover from an attack, and we will go over those in this article – but the main points will be on how to avoid a ransomware attack. Preventing an attack is much easier than recovering your data after an attack.
In this article, we’re going to go over common examples of ransomware attacks, and how to avoid ransomware getting put onto your computer. If you find yourself needing additional reading for this topic at the end of the article, we recommend checking out this source on internet security.
Most Common Forms of Ransomware
In order to understand how to correctly avoid getting ransomware put onto your device, you’ll want to know the most common ways ransomware gets mistakenly downloaded onto computers and other devices. Unfortunately, ransomware developers have had a lot of time to make their programs almost indistinguishable from the real deal.
This particular ransomware program was created in 2016 by a group of hackers. They would send out emails that contained a seemingly harmless Microsoft word attachment. Once the user would open the attachment, their system would prompt them to enable macros to translate the document. Once they did that, it would launch the Locky virus, which would encrypt 160 file types on the computer.
This would essentially lock the user out of their computer’s data, until they paid the Locky organization upwards of 1 Bitcoin. At the time, this could be up to a $10,000 payment.
WannaCry was a ransomware program created in 2017, that ended up affecting users across 150 different countries. This particular ransomware exploited outdated computer operating systems, and they were able to lock 230,000 computers due to this. The worldwide damage of this attack would cost approximately $4 billion USD.
- Bad Rabbit
In 2017, this ransomware attack went after pre-established websites that were trusted by users and carried out the attacks through the website they hacked into. Users would be prompted to install a new version of Adobe flash by the website, and would in fact be downloading ransomware onto their computers.
How To Avoid Ransomware Attacks
There are a lot of ways your computer could become held ransom, but fortunately there are just as many ways to protect yourself against falling victim to these kinds of viruses. We’ve made a list of X important steps you should take to avoid ransomware attacks:
- Frequent Backups
We recommend to frequently backup the important data on your device, and to store it offline, preferably on a completely separate device from your PC. You can also use various cloud services such as Microsoft Azure Cloud.
- Update Your System Frequently
As we mentioned in the WannaCry ransomware attacks, your device could become susceptible to ransomware simply because it is not using the latest update of whatever operating system it’s on. It’s pretty straightforward to check if your device needs to be updated, and can be viewed in most device settings.
- Download Ransomware Protection
Ransomware protection programs do exactly what you would think they do, and there are a lot to choose from. We recommend checking out Bitdefender or Kaspersky, as both are great options and reliable.
Wrapping It Up
We hope you were able to take away something new from this article, and that you stay safe when browsing the web. Remember that the most common way that ransomware can be distributed is via email, so never open attachments you aren’t expecting to get, and always double check the sender of the email. By following the steps in this article, you should be just fine with avoiding ransomware attacks.