Ransomware is one of the most unpleasant virus or malware infections, and with no known cure, it poses one of the most serious threats to company and personal data across the globe. In recent weeks there has been a sharp spike in the number of reported infections, so what can you do to protect your valuable data?
WHAT IS RANSOMWARE?
Essentially, ransomware encrypts documents and images on a computer. Worse still, if the computer is attached to a corporate network, it will infect everything it can see, and will only notify the user once it has finished encrypting all of the data it can find. Usually a pop up window will appear informing the user that all of their data has been encrypted and the only way to decrypt or release the data is to pay a fee to the crooks who created the infection. The amount of ransom demanded seems to vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.
HOW DOES IT INFECT MY PC?
As with virtually all Viruses and Malware infections, Ransomware is usually delivered in an email attachment. There has been a recent trend in emails that claim to be invoices, or confirmations of an order. The emails are worded quite well, and are clearly very plausible, as the number of infections reported in the past few weeks have rocketed
SO HOW DO YOU REMOVE IT?
There are many types of infection, but the way Ransomware infects computer networks does not vary much. If you are lucky, you may try to open an infected file quite soon after your computer has been infected. We say lucky, because if you can catch the infection early you may be able to prevent all of your valuable data from being encrypted. Remember that if you are on a network, the Ransomware will infect all of the data it can access, which can take time – days in some cases. Only once it has finished delivering its payload of poison, will it notify its victims.