How to beat ransomware: prevent, don’t react
Posted March 11, 2016 by Wendy Zamora
Picture this: You’ve spent the last few weeks working on a tribute video for a friend’s 30th wedding anniversary. You collected photos and video clips and edited them together, laying over a soundtrack of their favorite songs. It was a real labor of love.
When you finally finish the project, you go to copy the file onto a DVD and—what the?—a strange message pops up.
“Unfortunately, the files on this computer have been encrypted. You have 96 hours to submit payment to receive the encryption key, otherwise your files will be permanently destroyed.”
You’ve been hit with ransomware.
You didn’t back up the anniversary video. In fact, you haven’t backed up any of your files in months. What do you do?
Unfortunately, when it comes to ransomware, once your files are encrypted, there’s not much you can do—besides cut your losses or pay up. And even if you do pay up, there’s a chance you won’t get your files back, so you’re out the files and your cash.
That’s why it’s so important to prevent ransomware attacks from happening in the first place.
Types of ransomware
The first step in ransomware prevention is to recognize the different types of ransomware you can be hit with. Ransomware can range in seriousness from mildly off-putting to Cuban Missile Crisis severe.
Okay, yes, it’s called scareware, but in comparison to other types of ransomware—not so scary. Scareware includes rogue security software and tech support scams. You might receive a pop-up message claiming that a bazillion pieces of malware were discovered and the only way to get rid of them is to pay up. If you do nothing, you’ll likely continue to be bombarded with pop-ups, but your files are essentially safe. A quick scan from your security software should be able to clear out these suckers. For simple instructions on how to clean an infected computer….