What is Ransomware? According to Wikipedia it is the following:
Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way, and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction. Some forms of ransomware systematically encrypt files on the system’s hard drive, which become difficult or impossible to decrypt without paying the ransom.
I’ve dealt with CryptoWall and it worked fast and rendered the computer useless after a few hours.
It’s shocking how easy it is to do. Cylance a newer Anti-Virus(AV) with Artificial Intelligence instead of Anti-Virus Definitions listed this picture on their website.
This is from a website on the Dark Web. No I’ve never visited there! Essentially it’s a form to fill out that will create the Ransomware code for you. NO CODING INVOLVED on their end!!!!! Frightening!!!
So now that I have officially scared you, how do you prevent it?
- ALWAYS keep your whatever Anti-Virus you use up to date! Don’t have money for Anti-Virus software? There are a quite a few excellent free Anti-Virus programs. Avast, AVG, Panda, Sophos, ZoneAlarm and Bitdefender to name a few!
- Run a software firewall like Windows Firewall, ZoneAlarm AV has a firewall built into it, or Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition. Still don’t feel secure, buy a physical firewall. Like the Netgear ProSafe or the Cisco RV110W-A-NA-K9 (who came up with that name??)
- Make sure your Operating System has all the latest updates!
- Use a Malware solution like Malwarebytes. Bitdefender has a solution that you pay for your Anti-Virus, Firewall and Malware Protection all in one product, it’s called Total Security 2016.
- Disable Macros on all Office files.
- Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know.
- Carefully open email attachments from someone you do know.
- Don’t click on links that you know look sketchy on unfamiliar websites
- Download this very helpful Ransomware Prevention Kit from Third Tier. They ask for a small donation to fund and pay for certifications for women in IT. We NEED more women in IT!!!!
- Backup your important files on an external hard drive and then only connect it when you need to back up again!
- Backup frequently
If you should get infected with Ransomware, paying the ransom doesn’t necessarily mean that the criminals doing this will give you your files back.
There is a “Vaccine” available for some flavors of Ransomware provided by BitDefender.