Here is a new type of cybercrime that you should educate yourself with before you lose all the money you earned with HBSwiss as ransom to save your precious data on your computer.
What is Ransomware?
These are malicious programs or simply viruses that can lock your computer and ask you to pay a ransom to unlock it. The ransom amount can be anywhere from just $10 to hundreds of dollars. When a huge business is attacked, the number can run into even millions.
If you thought only spam mails and porn sites could give you ransomware, then you are wrong. Everyone is equally vulnerable to ransomware. Even the popular WikiLeaks site was blocked with ransomware when the cablegate dump containing 250,000 US government documents was released. Read on to find out everything about this cybercrime and how you can safeguard yourself.
There are two basic ransomware types namely Cryptors and Blockers. Cryptors lock files by encrypting them and you will need a key to decrypt the files. Blockers on the other hand simply block your entire device whether it is your computer or your smart device.
How is Ransomware spread?
You can get ransomware through any of the following ways.
- Spam emails
- E-mail attachments
- E-mail links
- Social network messages
- Instant messaging apps
- Infected websites
How is the ransom paid?
The ransom money is paid in Bitcoins which is a sort of digital currency because the owner of the transaction cannot be traced.
There are different variants of ransomware used to lock your computer and each type is called a strain. CryptoLocker and Crypto Wall are the most common strains. Below is a list of more strains.
- Crypto Wall – Through spam mails
- CTB-Locker –
Is only my computer at risk?
The simple answer to that is a big ‘No’. It might seem like only computers are affected because Windows is the most commonly used operating system. However, even Android devices and Linux servers have been targeted. What’s even worse, it is speculated that they can even be used to lock your smart TVs and all smart devices like phones and tablets in the near future.
Is there a way out or is paying the ransom the only way out?
In most cases, there is not much you can do. But if you are lucky and the cybercriminals make a mistake, then it is possible to decrypt your files. But this is very rare.
Some programs might just ask you for a small ransom like $10 to $50. Though it might be tempting to pay the ransom, doing so may not guarantee that you will get back your files. In most cases, the criminals will simply ask you for more.
How do I save myself from Ransomware?
Though there is not much you can do once your computer or other devices are infected, you can protect yourself in the following ways.
- Back-up all your data from time to time on an external hard drive that is not connected to your computer
- Update all your device software periodically
- Do not download unknown email attachments or click linksin emails or open suspicious emails
- Keep the macro option disabled on all Microsoft applications like word, excel and PowerPoint as they can be used to spread ransomware