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Ransomware: What you need to know
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing forms of cyber-attack. At present there are nearly 3 million unique samples and more are appearing every day.
How does ransomware infect your system?
Ransomware can come from many sources, but most commonly begins with somebody clicking a malicious link. These links might be present in a Phishing email or even on emails asking you to download a program that looks legitimate but isn’t. Some forms of ransomware are so sophisticated that they don’t even require you to click a link, instead they are embedded in advertising banners and merely require you to roll your cursor over them to start a file download.
Ransomware can also infect a system through an unpatched vulnerability, which is becoming a common method.
Once in your system the ransomware installs keys in the victims Windows registry that start automatically when the PC boots. This process enables the ransomware server to connect to your PC via a matching key stored on the machine of the attacker.
The ransomware then begins to encrypt the victim’s files, making them inaccessible. The attacker will then demand a payment in exchange for the key to decrypt your files. It should be noted at this point that payment of this ransom does not guarantee the release of your files.
How can you reduce the impact of ransomware?
There are many actions you can take to reduce the risk of a ransomware attack.
- Remain vigilant: If you are unsure whether an email has been sent by the person who is purported to have sent it ask them before opening it or clicking any links.
- Keep your software updated: It might seem easier to ignore those Windows updates but they are designed to fix vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to infect your system.
- Take regular backups: No system is infallible and attacks are becoming more sophisticated by the day. You can take every precaution to stay safe and your system may still be attacked. By taking regular backups you can ensure the safety of your files should the worse happen.
- Use software to reduce the risks: There are a multitude of software packages that are designed to keep your PC and files safe. Whilst nothing is 100% guaranteed, any extra layers of defence are highly recommended.
How can Apollo help?
The threat of ransomware is one that every PC user should be aware of and taking precautions to avoid. Apollo can recommend strategies to assist you with this as well as provide award winning software to keep you safe.