Ransomware Can Cripple Your Computer, Mobile Device or Network
Individual computer users, business network users and even smartphone and other device users are vulnerable to a wide variety of trojan horses, viruses and malware. These malicious software programs can limit the use of your device or network, steal sensitive personal and business data, and can even prevent you from using your system until you pay a ransom to the creator or distributor of the malware. That last type of malware, called ransomware, has become more and more prevalent in the past few years and has shut down entire businesses and locked up countless computers and shut down business networks.
Today’s anti-virus and anti-malware software, along with operating system protections, do their best to protect you, but new types of attacks appear on a frequent basis. As a leading IT and computer service company in the Minneapolis St. Paul metro area, we work with individuals and businesses to keep their systems up and running efficiently and safely. Here’s what you need to know about ransomware and what you can do to prevent an attack and how to recover if your system is attacked.
Ransomware Prevent You from Using Your Device Until You Pay a Ransom
Attacks become known to users when a notice appears on the screen. These notices vary in content, but generally lock up your computer or smartphone, preventing you from doing your normal activities. Typically, the notice will tell you that your system is locked, that your files have been encrypted, or will threaten you in some way, using official-looking language that claims to come from some law enforcement agency. Depending on the type of the malware, it may only lock up your system, but the most recent ransomware scrambles the files stored on your device, making them impossible to access.
The notice on your screen will also make a demand for payment in return for giving back the control of your device to you. Often that payment must be made in some sort of e-currency. In many cases, even if you pay the ransom, the problem may not be solved, or you may be attacked again, with even more money demanded. The only real solution is to rid your system of the ransomware and restore your data from a recent, secure backup.
Ransomware Can Infect Your Device or Network in Several Ways
Ransomware, like all malware and viruses, infects individual computers, mobile devices and business networks from the outside. Since today’s computing environment demands constant access to email and the internet, those connections are typically the access points for malicious software. Typically, attacks come from the following sources:
- Opening Malicious Email Attachments – Everyone today communicates via email, and often exchange attachments with documents, images, videos and other files. Ransomware creators use attachments, sent in spam emails or after hijacking email accounts to deliver their malware.
- Opening Infected Files – Since businesses exchange many types of data files in the normal course of the day, attacks can come when someone opens a malicious file or runs a software program downloaded from the internet. Ransomware often spreads this way.
- Clicking Malicious Internet Links – Ransomware can be delivered on the internet when people click links to malicious locations. Often, these are disguised as links to trusted websites, and are clicked without inspection. Such links may appear in emails, or in social media posts.
- Visiting Malicious Websites – Your computer can be infected after visiting a spam website. Internet pornography websites, fake websites that mimic trusted sites and websites that host unmonitored advertising are common sources for malware.
- Using External Memory Devices – USB drives and other plug-in memory devices from unknown sources can also carry all sorts of malware and viruses, including ransomware. This is an uncommon source, but any such device from an outside source could be a threat.
Since ransomware, viruses and malware are so prevalent today, with new exploits being released every day, protecting yourself from these attacks is a crucial need. To help you understand how to prevent malicious software from infecting your equipment, we are providing you the common-sense details on how you and your business can avoid becoming the next victim. The steps outlined are your best protection against all types of malicious programs. By following the protective measures we recommend, you’ll be very unlikely to suffer an attack, and if you are attacked, you’ll be able to recover quickly.
Despite vigilance and protective steps, ransomware attacks do occur. When they do, it’s important to realize that paying a ransom to criminals is not the answer. In many cases, the payment will not return your system to your control and additional demand may follow. The experienced technicians at our Twin Cities top-rated IT services company are trained to respond correctly and quickly. If you have followed the careful data backup and system restoration steps we recommend, we can quickly rid your system of the malware and successfully restore your data. In case of an attack, contact us immediately. Learn more about recovering from a ransomware here.
Ransomware is a relatively new criminal extortion scheme that attacks business computers and individual devices. After locking up computers and encrypting data files, a ransomware attack then demands payment of money to receive a key that will reverse the damage. Often, though, businesses pay, but still don’t get their systems restored. Today, more and more of these attacks are occurring, including Petya, WannaCry, Fusob, CryptoWall, CryptoLocker, TorrentLocker and Reveton. By learning ransomware’s history, you can see how important it is to protect your computer systems and data and learn how to recover from a ransomware attack with professional assistance.
Business Technical IT Security and Support Services – Minneapolis St. Paul, MN
Throughout the Twin Cities Metro area, from Minneapolis, St. Paul to every suburban community in the seven-county area, small and mid-sized businesses, including home offices, rely on our IT technical support services. Providing IT security, virus and malware protection and data backup and recovery services is an important part of the customized technical support we offer to our customers. A ransomware attack or other malicious software attack on your systems can be a genuine disaster that threatens your business. You can rely on our expertise and professionalism to assist you in protecting your valuable data and recovering in a worst-case scenario. Contact us today to discuss your IT needs and let us help you find cost-effective solutions than ensure data safety and reliable system operations.