What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is type of malware that aims at blocking access to a target system in order to extort money from a victim or organization. Typically, ransomware will encrypt the user’s files and computers, so they cannot access them unless they pay up. This can be a significant cause for anxiety when it happens to large companies or small communities. Recent examples of ransomware include Cryptolocker and Petya/ExPetr, which caused the WannaCry and NotPetya outbreaks, respectively, in 2017.
How Does Ransomware Spread?
Ransomware can be spread via phishing campaigns and exploits to spread itself and infect multiple victims. For example, at the end of 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security cautioned people against opening attachments in emails from unknown senders after hackers had devised a way to disguise malware as an Adobe Acrobat Reader update.
What Does Stolen Ransomware Do?
Stolen Ransomware is malware that locks computers and threatens to delete data if a ransom is not paid. This type of malware is typically not as expensive to unlock as other ransomware and does not encrypt the host’s files. Hackers can easily steal files and demand ransom for their safe return. Many victims are tricked into believing that hackers will provide decryption keys after payment.
How to Remove Stolen Ransomware
Stolen ransomware, due to its nature, does not need encryption and leaves a digital signature. Given that this type of malware is less sophisticated than others, it's easier to remove. A cybersecurity expert can help wipe off an infection with anti-malware software or other tools such as a simple registry cleaner. Once the malware is removed, it is easy for users to clean up their systems and data.
How to Protect My Computer From Ransomware
First, be cautious to avoid being exploited by ransomware. Always make sure the links and attachments that you are receiving are from trusted sources. Share information with trusted contacts and delete emails from unknown senders to reduce your chances of malware infection.
Next, back up your files! Backing up means storing copies of your hard drive onto a different device or at a remote location so that you can recover data in the event of an event where data is lost due to an infection. Finally, ensure the security of your network and computer system by installing anti-malware software on all devices it's compatible with, including desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.. It will protect against any ransomware trying to infect you remotely or locally, as well as spyware and viruses, and other cyber scams.