I am going to talk about probably the most evil type of virus around. It’s called Ransomware, you might have heard about it. Mainly what it does once the computer get’s infected with it; it encrypts all the files and then it makes or blackmail’s you to pay to unencrypt it. Any file which gets infected with this malware starts encrpting all the documents, it doesn’t give any intimation in the background, once it is all done it gives you a popup saying- “Hey we have your files, and if you are not going to pay us, we are not giving it back to you”.
These ransomware are typically in hundreds of dollars but can be in thousands too, and almost always requires to be payed in bitcoin because it is very hard to trace. It will tell you that if you do pay you will get a decryption key and you can restores your files, the key is stored on hacker’s computer and if you choose not to pay, in 48 hours they destroy the decryption key and your files will be completely unrecoverable. If you think you can encrypt the files by yourself you will not be able to do it.
These types of viruses are actually becoming popular, and the worst is it actually makes people pay up, so this is an incentive for the hackers to keep doing it. As per a recent study it was found that in 2015 there were lakhs of detected computers which contained ransomware and even more which went undetected. Professionals usually say to NOT pay ransom but individuals who have the only copy of family photos/personal documents and important documents will think it worth it.
To protect your system from this virus you have to be very careful while opening any email attachments or pdf files. Sometimes spammers send you documents which actually seems that you have send it yourself, they try to make you open it, this is actually the ransomware virus.
WHAT to do to prevent such- there is actually only one way, i.e to have a backup of all your documents that will allow you to recover them easily, don’t make a local backup because these ransomwares are very smart they go through all your files, hard drives. You can use an online backup solution like “Backblaze”, “Crashplan” and “Carbonite online backup”, all these are pretty good and they store your files outside your computer. So even if your computer get’s hacked your files will be safe and you can recover it at any time.
Therefore backup..backup..backup offline is probably the best way to protect your data from Ransomware. Routinely backup your data, and if saving on an external drive then disconnect the external drive when the backup is complete….If you take this precaution….You will be fine.