What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware that can prevent system access but Ransomware is more like the digital "kidnapping" of your files An attacker typically encrypts most files on the infected computer, then charges a ‘ransom’ for their safe return.
If the "ransom" is not paid in time, or ignored the encrypted files are destroyed from your computer.
Individuals, businesses, colleges and government agencies have all been among targets of ransomware. Any institution or individual that has critical files or systems is a potential target for ransomware attackers.
What type of files can be infected by ransomware
Most ransomware does not target important system files (such as your Windows installation folders) but instead the infection will work around your computer, locking all files that have been User created. Normally the kind of files that ransomware will lock are;
- Word Documents
- Excel Spreadsheets
- Saved Emails
Anything business critical, or personal that could be of value to the user of the infected computer is at risk for infection
How your devices are infected
The most common way to be infected by ransomeware is by using email attachments, that would contain a macro within the document that when opened, will download and infect your computer with the ransomware malware.
Another way is again, using email attachments in the form of a Zip Folder that would infect your computer the moment the attachment is extracted onto your computer
Other infection methods include operating system exploits from using older operating systems that are no longer updated, or safe to use. Windows XP Computers in a business environment is a perfect example of a computer system that can be infected with the ransomware malware.
How can I prevent my computer from being infected?
To prevent your computer from being infected by Ransomware we would recommend that you keep your paid anti-virus services up to date.
(Please note traditional "Free" versions of Anti Virus products do not offer your computer "Real Time" protection, and would only notice any infections if/when you run a virus scan on your computer)
It is also beneficial to run Weekly / Monthly scans of your computers using your Anti Virus (However, if you use Full Circle IT Solutions for your Anti Virus Services you do not need to worry about this because all computers that run our Anti Virus protection are scanned automatically, every week and if any threats are detected we are notified of this and will take steps to secure your computer)
It would also be prudent to have your computers data backed up on a regular basis, be this weekly or monthly.
Most importantly is the "think before your click" rule - when receiving email attachments from sources you are not sure of, please remember these two key tips;
1 - Would you normally be emailed by the sender of this email?
2 - Have you ever received notifications through an email attachment from this client before? (If not, then you have likely received a spam email)