Why does online privacy matter, why do criminals care about your data, and how can your privacy become compromised?
Ransomware is a prevalent and growing threat in the cybersecurity landscape. Ransomware attacks have been increasingly common over the years, and they have targeted various individuals, businesses, government organizations, and other institutions.
Let us consider, what ransomware is, how ransomware works, how ransomware spreads, and how to protect your devices and data.
- What is ransomware? Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a computer system until a fee is paid. The most common type of ransomware encrypts the victim’s files, but there are also many other types of ransomwares.
- Are there any guarantees that paying the ransom fee will give you back access to your system and data? There are no guarantees. The creator of the ransomware program will often not even know what the decryption key is.
- What are some common sources of ransomware?
- Suspicious and unexpected emails – Attachments in phishing emails could contain ransomware.
- Downloads on fake websites – Malicious websites could attempt to dupe you into downloading and installing ransomware.
- Removable devices – Removable devices could become infected with ransomware, spreading it to any computers they are plugged into.
- What should you do to help prevent ransomware from spreading?
- Don’t open attachments in unexpected emails. Cybercriminals try to spread ransomware by sending fake emails with ransomware-infected attachments.
- Don’t plug in removable devices you don’t know. Cybercriminals sometimes leave ransomware-infected removable devices lying near offices.
- You find a USB memory stick in the parking lot. What should you do? Give it to Lost & Found or your IT support team. This way the device will find its rightful owner, if it has one.
- Which of the following are ways in which you can help prevent the spread of ransomware?
- Install latest software updates as soon as they are available – Software updates can include fixes to known vulnerabilities that could allow ransomware to take hold of your system.
- Do not download anything from websites you can’t trust – Illegitimate websites could offer downloads that are infected with ransomware.
- Do not click on attachments in unexpected emails – Phishing emails can be used to send out attached ransomware programs.
- You realize that your computer has been infected with ransomware. What is the first thing you should do? Report the incident to your IT support team. This is the most important and first course of action to help mitigate further spread or damage.
- It is true that ransomware has become highly common in recent years? It is true. Ransomware attacks have cost companies around the world billions in damages in recent years.
- Do you think downloading and installing operating system updates as soon as they are available can reduce the risk of having your computer become infected with ransomware. Yes, operating system updates often contain security patches that fix vulnerabilities that ransomware could otherwise use to take hold of your system.
- As long as you run an antivirus program, you will be safe from ransomware. True or false? The correct answer is false. An antimalware program can detect and stop known ransomware programs, but it’s essential to avoid clicking unknown attachments and taking other precautions to stop new variants of ransomware.