It’s the thing out of a nightmare – you go to use your computer at night and you find that all of your files have been locked away by a nasty program called a ransomware. These programs will encrypt your files and ask for money in exchange for the key to decrypt your files. If you can’t pay the ransom, your files could be lost forever. So what is one to do in this situation?
First of all, the best protection is prevention. You’ll want to ensure that your computer is safe from attacks like these by installing the best antimalware software that money can buy. There are some that are definitely better than others. We have written about Spyhunter over at our Spyhunter review page where we talk about whether or not it’s a safe program (this is a topic that we get asked about a lot). It’s good to be wary of any software you install on your computer – there are some scams out there that will take over your computer and just add to your problems.
The first lesson in avoiding malware and ransomware is to avoid clicking on unknown links and downloading attachments from unknown senders. For example, the latest Petya ransomware encrypts the entire hard drive of the computer, making it completely unusable. The Petya ransomware is being spread through infected Dropbox links that are being sent over email. So the thing is – don’t open attachments that you don’t know about – check who sent it and what the subject matter is. And, whether or not you are expecting an attachment in the first place.
Another thing that the experts tell you to do is NOT pay the ransom. Unfortunately however, you might not be able to get the files back. The good news is that many versions of the ransomwares that are out there have been “solved” by internet do-gooders. There are decryption keys available, and other solutions to getting your files back. A simple Google search or an email to Norton or Symantec might help you out in terms of finding the solution to the particular ransomware that you find yourself dealing with.
One of the biggest ways that these ransomware attacks spread is through “spear phishing” campaigns where a single email is targeted at an individual, asking them to click a link or download an attachment. As we said before, the best protection against these attacks is education of your employees! Constant education is a must.