Ransomware attacks are increasing at a terrifying rate. Recently, the ransomware attack “WannaCry” affected an alarmingly high number of individuals. In mid-May of this year, over 230,000 computers were affected spanning more than 150 countries. Individuals along with major corporations were targeted through the Windows operating system. Unless the ransom was paid, the organization would not be able to retrieve their encrypted data.
Unfortunately, attacks like these are becoming regular occurrences across the world. They impact everyone; including major organizations like hospitals, banks, energy companies, airports and other large-scale corporations. Some of the most common threats to watch out for are:
Lockscreen ransomware restricts you from accessing your computer by displaying a full-screen message. This locks you out of your device, but usually does not encrypt your files. Lockscreen ransomware is essentially your system being held hostage until demands are met. Usually, the message demands that you pay money in order to gain access to your computer. Oftentimes, it includes instructions on how to make these payments, usually through Bitcoin or other anonymous payment sites.
The other type of ransomware used is called encryption ransomware. Rather than blocking you out of your system entirely, encryption ransomware locks your individual files. Encrypted files cannot be opened unless they are first unencrypted. Hackers typically demand that you send them a payment through an anonymous site in order for them to do this for you. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that they will actually follow through with their promise once they receive payment.
These growing threats have caused an increase in anxiety and increased the demand for cyber security. It is more important than ever to take extra precaution while using the Internet to prevent encountering ransomware. One thing that you can do to help protect your files is regularly back them up on an external hard drive. That way, if you fall victim to an attack, you still have a copy of your information.