Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system. This type of malware forces its victims to pay the ransom through certain online payment methods in order to grant access to their systems, or to get their data back.
Users may encounter this threat through a variety of means. Ransomware can be downloaded by unwitting users by visiting malicious or comprised websites. It can also be delivered as attachments to spammed email. Once executed in the system, a ransomware can either (1) lock the computer screen or (2) encrypt predetermined files with a password.
To prevent ransomware infections, keep these things in mind:
- Backup your files regularly.
- Bookmark trusted websites and access these websites via bookmarks.
- Download email attachments only from trusted sources.
- Scan your system regularly with anti-malware.
- Enable your popup blocker. Popups are a prime tactic used by the bad guys, so simply avoid even accidentally clicking on an infected popup. If a popup appears, click on the X in the right-hand corner. The buttons within a popup might have been reprogrammed by the criminals, so do not click on them.
- Exercise caution. Don’t click on links inside emails, and avoid suspicious websites. If your PC does come under attack, use another computer to research details about the type of attack. But be aware that the bad guys are devious enough to create fake sites, perhaps touting their own fake antivirus software or their de-encryption program.