What Is Ransomware: Complete Guide On How To Avoid Attacks

Do you know what ransomware is? Have you never heard of that word before? So you also have no idea what kind of risk it is and what problems it can cause your company, suitable?

In the same way that technology evolves and brings benefits to ordinary people and, of course, large companies, attacks by hackers have become increasingly common, complex, and difficult to predict.

While this type of virus-based cyber attack is not something new, in recent times, they have started to become more common.

Especially with the prominence they gained in the mainstream media, critical public bodies, governments, and large companies have begun to be affected and often have their confidential data exposed.

In this post, you will better understand what ransomware is, what kind of damage it can cause and how to protect yourself.

What Is Ransomware?

Put simply by this term, which can be complicated for lay people; ransomware is a type of malware (virus) that criminals install on users’ machines without users’ authorization and works as an extortion tool.

Thus, the virus gives these individuals autonomy, making it possible to block computers from anywhere in the world, encrypting their data.

When infected with the virus, the computer starts to receive notifications with warnings that the machine has been hijacked and that the owner will only regain control by paying a ransom. 

This payment is usually requested in bitcoin or some other hard-to-trace cryptocurrency.

Controllers promise to decrypt the data upon payment and restore access to the affected device, but this is not a guarantee.

The idea is to consult a technician to verify the possibility of trying decryption without having to pay.

Having this data hijacked for systems that keep sensitive information can be a nightmare.

Some techniques used by criminals are:

  • Disk coder ransomware encrypts the entire disk causing the user to be unable to access the operating system.
  • Screen Locker blocks access to the device’s screen.
  • Crypto-ransomware locks data stored on the victim’s disk.
  • PIN Locker seeks to target Android devices and change their passwords to lock users.

See below for how to protect yourself from these criminal attacks.

How To Protect Yourself From Ransomware Attacks?

To better understand ransomware, you should know that it is installed from attachments in emails or messages on apps, social networks, and websites. You don’t want to become a victim of this criminal activity. Then follow these steps to protect yourself and protect your data.

Make Backups Periodically

It is common nowadays to store documents, photos, videos, and memories on our devices. But, despite being kept in a safe place, it is essential to make constant backups of the files to avoid losing such vital files.

In large companies, this feature is even more critical.

To avoid piles of paper, storing everything digitally, as we know, optimizes work. But leaving everything in one place can also be very dangerous.

Therefore, try to back up not only to the cloud – as some ransomware can also get there –but also to physical media, such as a flash drive and external hard drive, which are always a good option.

Always Have Devices Up To Date

You must have noticed that every system has an update program, right? Most people even find it very dull to carry out the installations.

But know that these updates are not just for decoration! Using original and up-to-date software can save you from having to pay a ransom to criminals.

That’s because the program and operating system updates offer users new features and fix vulnerabilities as these hacking tactics evolve.

With that in mind, updating automatically or checking for new installations is always a good idea.

Browse The Web Carefully

It is essential to verify that the websites you browse have the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) digital certificate so that it is possible to know if the page is actual or just a mask created by criminals.

Search engines, such as Google, try to make pages that do not have the certificate more “hidden,” appearing only at the end of their lists.

To know if a site has SSL, check if it shows a small padlock in the status bar, indicating that the page is secure.

Likewise, always be suspicious of attachments and links sent by emails, apps, and social networks.

A good tip is always to check who the message’s sender is and avoid clicking or opening files that are not expected, as they can be a trap.

Have An Exemplary Configuration And A Good Antivirus

Try to correctly configure your systems and equipment, for example, wireless routers and servers.

Create new passwords and enable network security protection, which reduces the chances of malware and ransomware infections.

Another interesting tip is always to use the machine’s protections, such as firewalls and IDS; these programs can identify intrusion attempts and strange behavior.

Installing a reliable antivirus is also essential. They can block a range of malware and ransomware and prevent users from opening links, files, and websites already detected as malicious.

Also Read: The 5G Network Revolution And Its Impact On Cybersecurity

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