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What is Ransomware and Steps To Keep Your System Protected



Ransom ware is a sophisticated piece of malware that blocks the victim’s access to his/her files, and the only way to regain access to the files is to pay a ransom. There are two types of ransom ware in circulation: Encryptors, which incorporates advanced encryption algorithms. It’s designed to block system files and demand payment to provide the victim with the key that can decrypt the  blocked content. Examples include CryptoLocker, Locky, CrytpoWall and more. Lockers, which locks the victim out of the operating system, making it impossible to access the desktop and any apps or files. The files are not encrypted in this 

case, but the attackers still ask for a ransom to unlock the infected computer. Examples include the police-themed ransomware or Winlocker. Some locker versions infect theMaster Boot Record (MBR). The MBR is the section of a PC’s hard drive which enables the operating system to boot up. When MBR ransomware strikes, the boot process can’t complete as usual and prompts a ransom note to be displayed on the screen. Examples include Satana and Petya families. Crypto-ransomware, as encryptors are usually known, are the most widespread ones, and also the subject of this article. The cyber security community agrees that this is the most prominent and worrisome cyber threat of the moment.

A quick history of ransomware 

It may be difficult to imagine, but the first ransomware in history emerged in 1989 (that’s 27 years ago). It was called the AIDS Trojan, whose modus operandi seems crude nowadays. It spread via floppy disks and involved sending $189 to a post office box in Panama to pay the ransom. How times have changed! The appearance of Bitcoin, and evolution of encryption algorithms helped turn ransomware from a minor threat used in cyber vandalism, to a full-fledged money-making machine. As a result, every cybercriminal wants to be a part of this. This graph shows just how many types of encrypting malware researchers have discovered in the past 10 years.

Top targets for ransomware creators and distributors

Cybercriminals soon realized that companies and organizations were far more profitable than users, so they went after the bigger targets: police departments, city councils and even schools and, worse, hospitals! To give you some perspective, nearly 70% of infected businesses opted to pay the ransom and recover their files. More than half of these businesses had to pay a ransom worth $10,000 to $40,000 dollars in order to recover their data. But for now, let’s find out how online criminals target various types of Internet users. This may help you better understand why things happen as they do right now.

How to protect yourself from ransomware

Back up your files 
The greatest damage people suffer from a ransomware attack is the loss of files, including pictures and documents. The best protection against ransomware is to back up all of the information and files on your devices in a completely separate system. A good place to do this is on an external hard drive that isn't connected to the internet. This means that if you suffer an attack you won't lose any information to the hackers. Be suspicious of emails, websites and apps For ransomware to work hackers need to download malicious software onto a victims computer. This is then used to launch the attack and encrypt files. 

The most common ways for the software to be installed on a victim's device is through phishing emails, malicious adverts on websites, and questionable apps and programs. People should always exercise caution when opening unsolicited emails or visiting websites they are unfamiliar with. Never download an app that hasn't been verified by an official store, and read reviews before installing programs. 

Use an antivirus program 
An age-old computer security tip, antivirus programs can stop ransomware from being downloaded onto computers and can find it when it is. Most antivirus programs can scan files to see if they might contain ransomware before downloading them. They can block secret installations from malicious adverts when you're browsing the web, and look for malware that may already be on a computer or device. 

Always install updates 
Companies often release software updates to fix vulnerabilities that can be exploited to install ransomware. It is therefore advisable to always download the newest version of a software as soon as it is available. 

Never pay the ransom
Victims of ransomware attacks are advised to never pay the fee as it encourages attackers and may not result in files being recovered. There are some programs that can help decrypt files. Or, if you have a back up, you can restore your device from that. 

source : internet 

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