What is Ransomware and How Can I Stop It?

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware specifically designed to hold your computer “ransom.” You might see a message telling you that you must pay a sum of money to a certain party within 24 hours or all your files will be deleted. You might also see “FBI Warnings” saying you violated federal law and must pay a fine to a specific source.

Originally this was a phenomenon only desktop users needed to worry about. But the threat has gone mobile as well, with some Android and iOS devices being targeted in similar ways. A mobile device affected by ransomware could see the same results as a desktop device—it would be locked down with a “ransom” message displayed.

Fortunately, most phones are safe from harm, as the devices automatically back up data. The major problem is computers that get affected.

How to stop ransomware from affecting your computer

There are two main solutions to the problem of ransomware, one of which is far more effective than the other. They are:

  • Use a malware scanner once you are infected. This is the less secure option. There’s no guarantee that your chosen scanning software can actually detect the ransomware on your computer, especially if you don’t engage in regular software updates. Once your computer is infected, there’s also no guarantee you’ll be able to get to your scanner to use it and hopefully pinpoint and eliminate the source of the infection. Yes, virus scanning software today is more sophisticated than ever before, but the scanning software always slightly lags behind the pace of new virus proliferation.
  • Back up everything regularly. Ransomware works because it knows people are lax about backing up their files on a separate drive. If you regularly back up all of your precious data, including photo albums, music, documents, programs and more, you really have nothing to fear (other than the nuisance of having to either reformat your computer or find another way to fight off the virus) if your computer does get infected. You could use either an external hard drive or a cloud storage system to keep these files secure.

For more information about how to protect your computer from ransomware, talk to the team at IDMI.Net today.