What is ransomware? Ransomware is a type of malware that can infect your computer, restricting your access to your data and/or threatening its destruction unless you pay a ransom. There are many different types of ransomware that manifest themselves in sometimes very convincing ways. They often appear to be official messages from well known organizations, such as Microsoft or the FBI. They are, however, elaborate scams con artists use to gain access to personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, etc. Ransomeware is not so very new, but it is on the rise. Ransomware can impact home computers as well as businesses and other institutions. Even cell phones can be infected.
One common way to end up with ransomware is by opening emails from unknown sources. This can be difficult to avoid. Sometimes the emails will claim to be from official organizations, or even appear to be from a friend or loved one who’s computer has been infected. Simply entering websites that have been compromised can infect your computer as well. Once the device is infected, users are often prompted to pay a ransom, often with a pre-paid card or virtual currency such as bitcoin.
Here are some good ways to protect your computer from
– Have updated antivirus software on your computer.
– Use strong passwords (the strongest passwords don’t resemble words, contain capital and lower case letters, numbers and other characters). And use different passwords for different things.
– Enable automated patches for your web browser and operating system
– Use a pop-up blocker
– Only download software from sites you know and trust, as malware can also come in downloadable games, file-sharing programs, and customized toolbars.
– Don’t open attachments in unsolicited e-mails. Even if they appear to come from people in your contact list, and never click on a URL contained in an unsolicited e-mail.
– Make sure you back up your data
– Use these precautions any time you are on the internet, whether you are on a computer or your phone.