What is Ransomware and 10 Easy Steps to Keep Your System Protected
As the name suggests, Ransomware is a piece of malware that doesn’t allow the victim to have an access to his data and the only way to have access to the files is by paying a ransom against it.
On May 12th, 2017 we witnessed the biggest cyber attack by Wannacry Ransomware which affected various countries across the globe. Therefore, we must have basic understanding of what Ransomwares are and how we can save our systems from their attack.
Types of Ransomware
There are different kinds of Ransomware that are in circulation across the world which in different ways block the access to files.
- Encryptors: Consisting of advanced encryption algorithms, these are created to block the files on the system and then demand a ransom from the victim. On making the payment, a decrypt key is issued to unlock the content. The recent example of this kind of Ransomware is Wannacry Ransomware.
- Lockers: They lock the victim out of the operating system. This means the access to any file or desktop is restricted. Again Ransom is asked to unlock the computer.
- Infecting Master Boot Record: MBR Ransomware interferes with the boot process and displays a ransom note on the screen.
Important Features of Ransomware
Here are some of the unique characteristics which make Ransomware different from various other malwares in circulation:
- Ransomware can encrypt all types of files that you have on your computer.
- It has unbreakable encryption because of which nobody can decrypt the file and would require key to do so.
- Ransomware changes the extensions to the file names.
- It can scramble names of file to create chaos as you are clueless about which data has been affected. This compels the victim to pay the ransom amount.
- There is often a time limit to make ransom payments. On failing to pay the mentioned amount within the period. That means the ransom amount will increase or it means that the data will be destroyed completely.
- As your system gets infected with Ransomware, there will be image that will be displayed on screen informing you. The data on your system has been encrypted and to unlock it. You have to pay a certain ransom within a specific time limit.
- It follows complicated evasion techniques which are not noticed by commonly used antivirus.
- It accepts payment in Bitcoins. This is done because this is crypto-currency and therefore, it cannot be tracked by cyber security.
- It has potential to spread across other systems connected with infected one on LAN thereby damaging all the data.
- For increasing the chances of victim understanding the message on the screen. It sometimes used geographical targeting to translate the message into the language of the victim.
These are some of the important characteristics of Ransomware using which you can know if it is Ransomware or not.
Easy Tips to Protect Your System from Ransomware
It is always good to follow easy steps in your day-to-day working to make sure that your system is protected from Ransomware attacks. Here are 10 steps that keep you protected.
- Data Storage: Don’t store any important data on your PC.
- Turn off Macros: Macros in Microsoft Office suite have to be turned off to stay protected.
- Data Backup: Always keep the backup of your data. You can use an external hard drive for this purpose and you can also store it on cloud.
- Guest and Administrator: Always have two accounts on your system. Use the guest account on daily basis as it has limited functions. Administrator account should be used for special reasons only.
- Stay Updated: Always keep the software and operating systems on your PC up to date to avoid such attacks.
- Synch and Close: Always turn off the applications like Google Drive, One Drive etc. Open them once to sync the data and then turn them off.
- Adjust Settings: Remember to adjust privacy settings and browser security of your PC.
- Use Ad Blocker: Always use an ad-blocker as this will save you from clicking on malicious ads by mistake.
- Plug-ins and Add-ons: All the outdated add-ons and Plugins on your browser should be removed. Keep those which you use and update them from time to time.
- Anti-Virus: Always install a good anti-virus on your system for better protection and keep it updated. Do not depend upon free anti-virus.
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