Reports of Ransomware Attacks are increasing lately. And, as an Internet User, you must know What is Ransomware and How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks on your computer. We will discuss the two topics in this article along with explaining How it works with examples.
What is Ransomware & How Does Ransomware Works?
The term Ransomware is a combination of two words, Ransom+Malware. Ransomware is one of the dangerous types of Malware.
You might have heard the term Ransom several times, especially in movies. The Bad guys kidnap kids and ask for Ransom (A specific amount of money) from their parents in exchange.
Ransomware has the same concept. Here bad guys are cybercriminals/hackers, kids are the files & data, and parents are the owners of the computer.
So, Cybercriminals uses Virus or other types of Malware to hack your PC. Once they get the access, they Encrypt your important data or even lock the entire PC. There is no way a regular user can decrypt the files because these Hackers use special software to Encrypt and Decrypt files. Hence, they ask for money in exchange for decrypting your files.
You can read more about Encryption here.
Most users don’t have any choice other than to pay the money. Because if the user denies paying, they will delete all the files. And, as they got the access once, they can do it again. Still, there is no guarantee that you will get your files safely even after paying the Ransom. Hence, it is better to avoid Ransomware Attacks.
Keep Reading as we will tell you How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks. One of the biggest Ransomware Attacks was performed in 2017, which was named Wanna Cry Ransomware Attack.
How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks:
Previously Cybercriminals used to target Large Companies, but these days they are also attacking individuals. Therefore, here are some of the tips that will assist you on How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks on your PC.
Backup your Data:
The best method is to Back up your data on an External Hard Disk. A 2-Terabyte External Hard Disk Drive would be fine, but you can purchase according to your needs. Take a backup of your most important data and personal files every few days on the external drive. But remember, you should remove the hard disk after taking backup because there is a chance that the Hackers can also hack the hard disk if it is connected.
Use Premium Anti-Virus or Anti-Malware:
There are several Premium Antivirus and Antimalware software available like Kaspersky, Norton, etc. By purchasing the Total Security software, you can be 99% safe from all types of Malware. However, if you feel like the Total Security Software is expensive, you can get an Internet Security or at least Basic Antivirus.
You can use Free Antivirus as the last resort. But, I recommend my readers to get Total Security Software from a trusted source. Because, it can be expensive, but it will be 50 times less than what the hackers may demand in Ransom.
By default, Windows offers you a Firewall, and you will also get Firewall Protection if you purchase Total Security Antivirus. All you need to do is keep it on. The hackers can manipulate you to turn off the Firewall while installing Pirated Software/Games. But, the decision is in your hands. Do you want to risk your entire PC and data to install a pirated software? Type Yes or No in the comment.
Don’t Download Unknown Files:
Do not download pirated movies, software, and games from unknown sources. These could be in the form of a Trojan Virus. Once you download and install the software/game, the hackers will get access to hack your PC. Moreover, do not download .exe files in Email from an unknown user.
Enable File Extension:
You can Enable the File Extension on Windows 10 PC. Mostly, the Malware files or infected files have two extensions. For example:
As you can see, the ending extension is .exe.
.exe indicates that the file is an executable file.
However, if there are two extensions, and the ending one is .exe, it can be an indicator of Malware. It could be Trojan, Virus, Ransomware, or any other Malware. So, even if you download files from unknown sources, check the Extension. Moreover, you might also have to Unhide Folders & Files to see if any Malware is hidden.
Disable Network Discovery:
We suggest you Disable the Network Discovery option unless you need it. Especially, when you are using your laptop in Public Places or while using Free Public WiFi.
Turn Off Remote Sharing:
Moreover, you should also turn off your Remote Sharing when not in use. Because if one device gets affected, the cybercriminal can hack all the connected devices through Remote Sharing.
Malware is not only present on the Internet. You can also risk your PC through Offline sources, like CDs, DVDs, pen drives, and other Storage Devices. Hence, make sure you Turn Off the Autoplay feature. Moreover, when you connect an external device, scan it before opening it.
Keep your Software Updated:
Make sure all your Applications are Updated. Hackers use Bugs in software to enter into your computer. So, most companies provide regular security updates to keep the applications safe.
But, sometimes, you cannot update an application. Do you know when? When you are using a pirated software. Moreover, you should also buy the Windows operating system. If your Operating System is not genuine, you don’t get security updates, and the hackers can take advantage of it.
The Ransomware Attack in 2017 is called the biggest worldwide cyberattack. It happened because most users use pirated Windows Operating Systems. Therefore, you cannot even blame Windows for having bugs in their system, Because they send updates regularly to fix the bug, but most people didn’t get it because they are using a pirated version.
Detect Ransomware and Stop it:
I am pretty sure that if you follow our guide on How to Prevent Ransomware, you will be safe from all types of Malware, including Ransomware and Rootkit. However, suppose you do not follow the preventive methods, and you feel like your device is being infected by Ransomware, follow the below steps.
There are a few indications that your PC might be in the process of getting hacked. For example:
- Like we have discussed above, Malware files have double extensions.
- You will see folders named New Folder in every other folder. And, if you check its extension, it will be .exe. These could also be hidden sometimes. So, it’s safe to keep your files unhidden all the time.
- The files you use regularly are asking for a password now.
- Your PC is acting abnormally after installing or opening a downloaded software or file.
Hacking an entire PC over the Internet takes time. So, you got another chance to protect your PC. As soon as you notice any of the above signs, TURN OFF THE INTERNET.
Therefore, even if you have a small doubt, just turn off the Internet so that the Encryption Process should stop. Later, you can make sure everything is alright and turn it on. If you are sure that your PC was getting hacked, you can reset (format) it, install Antivirus, or take it to a technician.
Ransomware is a serious issue. Therefore, as the owner of a Tech website, it is my duty to make you aware of such threats. The best method to prevent Ransomware attacks is to have a Premium Total Security Antivirus from a Trusted Supplier. And the second thing you can do is Backup your files on an External Hard Disk.
So, even if your PC is hacked by Ransomware, you can completely format the PC and restore files using the External Drive. I hope you got an idea of What is Ransomware and How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks on your PC.