Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that is used to lock access to a computer system once a ransom is paid. Ransomware is usually caused by suspicious emails or certain unknown websites. Ransomware has been at the center of current news due to it’s prevalence in today’s society. For instance hackers are increasingly using ransomware on hospital and government systems due to their low protection and urgency for data usage. Recently Rockville Centre School district paid hackers $100,000 to recover data that had been breached.

How can ransomware be stopped? First we need to understand the different types of ransomware that exist. The first type of ransomware is crypto malware which is a virus that locks users computers until they pay a ransom through a crypto currency, most often bitcoin. This type of ransomware was used in the 2017 WannaCry attack which rapidly spread malware through windows computers. The second type of ransomware is scareware which disguises itself as a type of antivirus then either finds “issues” on your computer and demands payment or spams your computer with pop-up messages. The next type of ransomware is doxware which breaches your computer and threatens to publish your personal information online if a ransom isn’t paid. Lastly there is Raas, a type of ransomware that can be distributed by a single hacker and can be used by multiple perpetrators.

So how can you prevent ransomware from infecting your computer. The most important thing you can do is install a trusted security software which can monitor your computer for suspicious activity or malware. Next computer operating systems and security software should be constantly updated to prevent possible bugs that make your computer susceptible to malware. Finally backing up all information and avoiding possible phishing emails minimizes chances of your computer becoming infected with ransomware.

-Allen Shen

Sources:

https://www.us-cert.gov/Ransomware

https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-malware-ransomware-5-dos-and-donts.html

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