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Ransomware

Ransomware help in Tri-Cities

If you’ve ever wondered what the whole ransomware is about then you’re not alone. We hear about it constantly, especially at the office, and on the news. Our computers and devices are constantly reminding us to protect ourselves from this so-called ransomware. Let’s discuss the different forms of ransomware, how you get it, where it comes from, who it targets and what to do to fight against it.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malicious software which encrypts files on your computer or completely locks you out. It’s spread by hackers who then demand a ransom claiming that, if you pay, you’ll receive the decryption key to recover your files. The earliest pieces of ransomware were developed in the late 1980s, and payment was to be sent via the mail. Today, ransomware authors order that payment be sent via cryptocurrency or credit card.

How do I get ransomware?

There are several different ways that ransomware can infect your computer. One of the most common methods today is through malicious spam, or malspam, which is unsolicited email that is used to deliver malware. The email might include bad attachments, such as PDFs or Word documents. It might also contain links to malicious websites.

Malspam uses social engineering in order to trick people into opening attachments or clicking on links by appearing as legitimate—whether that’s by seeming to be from a trusted institution or a friend. Cybercriminals use social engineering in other types of ransomware attacks, such as posing as the FBI in order to scare users into paying them a sum of money to unlock their files.

Another popular infection method, which reached its peak in 2016, is malvertising. Malvertising, or malicious advertising, is the use of online advertising to distribute malware with little to no user interaction required. While browsing the web, even legitimate sites, users can be directed to criminal servers without ever clicking on an ad. These servers catalog details about victim computers and their locations, and then select the malware best suited to deliver. Often, that malware is ransomware.

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