BBC Report Highlights the Need for Internet Security
An article on the BBC News Website today highlights the spike in ransomware spam and the dangers of not having adequate security.
What is ransomware?
It’s a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way, and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction. Some forms of ransomware systematically encrypt files on the system’s hard drive, which become difficult or impossible to decrypt without paying the ransom for the encryption key, while some may simply lock the system and display messages intended to coax the user into paying. Ransomware typically propagates as a Trojan, whose payload is disguised as a seemingly legitimate file.
Ransomware is the fastest growing form of computer malware, experts warn. It’s also a growing threat for mobile devices as it can be hidden in an app-like other computer viruses, it usually finds its way onto a device by exploiting a security hole in vulnerable software or by tricking somebody into installing it.
Like most computer viruses, ransomware often arrives in the form of a phishing email, or spam, or a fake software update – and the recipient clicks a link or opens an attachment. The virus then sets to work encrypting the user’s files. Once the computer is effectively locked down, it demands a fee – often in bitcoins because it is less easy to trace – for the return of the files. Sometimes it is just a threat, but mostly the virus really does encrypt files. The only way to retrieve your files without paying the ransom is to go to a backed-up version.
You could risk paying them – but it’s a bit like paying a blackmailer. “You don’t know whether they’ll come back for more, you don’t know that they’ll clear the infection.” Paying also leaves you vulnerable to further cybercrime.
To avoid these threats, users should be very careful about what apps they install, and where they come from. Read emails vigilantly – if the sender is not known or appears to be from a suspicious email address do not open any attachments
What should you do?
Ensure your backups are working correctly and are being regularly tested.
Scan your devices for viruses and malware on a regular basis.
Currently Malwarebytes have released an anti-ransom software which is its Beta testing stages – it look promising.
Make sure your IT Support company is doing their utmost to counter these threats.
Brash can help with a comprehensive systems review to ensure your systems are reliable, secure and up-to-date and offer protection and security through leading anti-virus and anti-spyware installations. Call us today 0n 01442 877555.