A nuisance, a headache, a trouble, all these are just a few words defining a ransomware, which is spreading at a tremendous pace like an epidemic. In this article, we will try to shed light on various aspects of ransomware. However, before going further first we have to learn that Ransomware actually is?
Ransomware is a type of malware designed for extorting money from you by preventing you from accessing your own data. As in common terms, Ransom is a practice of kidnapping anyone and demanding money to release him. Ransomware also works with the same concept.
Some notorious and mischievous persons and agencies have designed this ransomware to rob your hard earned money.
Ransomware basically prohibits users to access their own files and data stored in their system. It is done by encrypting user’s data unless the ransom is paid to decrypt that data. Ransomware simply enters the user’s Pc and encrypts all his important files whether it is a text, document, music or video file. After that user is asked for a huge sum of money or ransom to encrypt his files. The user is also threatened that if the money is not given on time then he could lose his data forever.
Ransomware can be spread by various means. However, the most commonly used method is via e-mails. Some spam e-mails contain infected attachments. When the user tries to download these attachments, ransomware is injected into the system. Apart from this when a user visits any malicious or compromised website, ransomware automatically gets into the system.
Today all of us use the mail services to convey our messages, whether to invite our friend or to send the greetings. Therefore, distributing ransomware through an email has become the easiest mean. The content and subject of the email are written in such a way that it poses to be a genuine email, containing the legitimate information and attachment.
For example: A mail is sent to the user that you order is scheduled for delivery. To get the details of your order open the attached with the e-mail. Once you open that attachment, ransomware loads in your system and either locks your system or files.
After the user discovers that his files are no more accessible then he suddenly gets a prompt that his files are encrypted. To decrypt his files back he has to pay a huge sum of money.
Ransomware prices and demands always vary from one another. Some Ransomware asks for an initial amount say for an example 500 USD, then they threaten that if the amount is not paid in the given duration then the amount will be doubled. Also to threaten they start a timer showing that your time is running out to pay the ransom.
Also to prove their authenticity they give the option to decrypt any one of the encrypted files for free.
Apart from this, the user is also duped to the belief that his IP address is found violating cyber laws, and now he has to pay fine. If the fine is not paid in the given amount of time, then legal actions will be taken against him.
It is an old saying that prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, it is better to take effective measures before you are attacked by a Ransomware because once you are attacked by a ransomware then there are very few or no chances that your files will be decrypted without paying the money.
Also, paying that ransom does not either give the guarantee that the files will be decrypted or will be made accessible.
There are several ways to protect yourself from Ransomware like having an updated anti-virus or anti-malware software installed. Use of anti-spammer for your emails and messages so that no suspicious attachment can be sent.
Apart from this, the best way is to have the regular backup of your data with online storage. There are many free or paid cloud storage programs which provide you the facility of backing up of your data to their servers. Their servers are highly secured and cannot be easily compromised. Therefore, in the worst of the situation, if your system is attacked by a ransomware and your files get locked, you have the option to download your data again from the cloud. It means that you do not need to give a single penny to get your files back.