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How do I Know If I'm Infected With Ransomware?

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Malicious softwares can wreak havoc on our lives, as home users or as businesses. And one type of software which is particularly nasty is ransomware- this infects a computer and restricts the users’ access to it until a ‘ransom’ is paid to unlock it. It’s designed to encrypt files on a device, which renders any files (as well as the systems that rely on them) to be unusable. Fear, panic and manipulation is used to cause victims to click a link and send them the money they request. It can cause a significant amount of distress, loss of earnings and general disruption. Ransomware is usually spread through phishing emails which contain malicious attachments. It can also be spread by users visiting infected websites, where software is installed without their knowledge.

What are the signs?

Some of the warning signs that you’ve been infected by ransomware include: .

  • Your computer slows down

  • Your computer completely crashes

  • Your browser homepage has changed

  • The usual security program you use is disabled

  • Your friends receive strange messages from you

  • Unfamiliar icons and shortcuts are displayed on your desktop

  • You get unusual error messages

  • You can’t access your Control Panel

The biggest clue that you’ve been infected specifically with ransomware is that you will see a pop up on your screen which demands you pay a fee to regain the use of your device.

What can you do?

Don’t pay the ransom, even if you send money, there’s no guarantee that the criminal will unlock your device. There’s nothing stopping them from demanding more money, or taking your money and disappearing. Victims of ransomware should report to federal law enforcement, as explained here you will need to find a legitimate company who can remove this for you.

Moving forward

After you have recovered from a ransomware attack, it’s crucial that the same thing doesn’t happen again in the future. Protect your files and your business by regularly backing up, so that you have a copy if anything does go wrong. Keep your systems up to date, this ensures that the latest security measures are in place. Be mindful of sites you visit and links that you click on, and if you run a business then ensure all of your staff are trained and know how to prevent these kinds of attacks from happening. Employing an IT security system can give you peace of mind and ensure that your business remains difficult for attackers to access.

Ransomware attacks can be incredibly stressful. Do what you can to prevent them from occuring, and if you’ve been attacked then stay calm. These criminals make their money by forcing people into a state of panic, you wont make rational decisions in this frame of mind. Take a breath, and then plan your next steps.

Categories: Internet