Ransomware is bad there really isn’t any other way to describe it. Most malware and virus do some type of damage or add some annoying behavior. Almost all them can be removed and repaired. If worse comes to worse and nothing else works backing up your important files and then performing a Factory Restore puts things right again.
Ransomware doesn’t work like other malware and viruses. Sure it can be removed easy enough. The damage it causes though is a different story. Today’s ransomware finds it’s way onto your computer, usually through a legitimate looking email with a PDF attachment, and worms it’s way through your hard drives and even attached network drives. As it worms it’s way through it encrypts every document and picture you have making them completely unusable. You can hold your breath and hope that the author of the ransomware has a change of heart like the author of TeslaCrypt did and releases the master key and apologizes or you can prepare yourself for ransomware before it ever happens.
The Absolutes About Ransomware
There are a few things about today’s ransomware that just are
- The number of computers and mobile devices being infected is rapidly increasing
- A few ransomware viruses and malware can be recovered from without paying like the older FBI Virus
- Almost all file encrypting ransomware viruses are currently impossible to recover from without paying the ransomer
- File loss due to ransomware is 100% avoidable and you can protect yourself from loss completely
What Is Ransomware? What Are We Talking About?
The term ransomware is a muddled term for most normal people. It does cover any virus or malware that attempts to force you into paying a ransom. This includes the FBI Virus which boots your computer into a message that you have been detected doing bad things and have to pay the FBI before getting the use of your computer back. This particular malware is old and not many are being infected by it these days.
The general term Ransomware would also include the browser hijackers and similar malware that affects your ability to use your computer saying that it is infected with viruses and you have to buy a removal service from the sponsoring company. These are all recoverable without paying a ransom and your files are safe. The real threat of today is the ransomware threats that actually encrypt all of your important files and pictures taking them away from you unless you pay a price.
The best computer genius is powerless against these types of threats once the files have been encrypted. Know that they are gone and unrecoverable without the information from the one that created the particular ransomware that encrypted your files. This makes this type of ransomware one of the worst viruses to hit since the 90’s in my opinion.
The Chances Of You Getting Ransomware Are Increasing
This is just a fact. Kaspersky Labs reported an increase of 14% of newly detected ransomware modifications in the first quarter of this year over the previous quarter. It is important to keep in mind the word “detected“. Not every variation or new virus is detected right away. What this comes down to for us normal people is that ransomware is an increasing threat and our chances of falling victim to it are becoming greater no matter what antivirus we use.
The Good News Is Loss Is Avoidable
There actually is good news. The loss of files caused by the encrypting ransomware viruses is completely avoidable. A simple practice of backing up your important your files is the answer. If you don’t want to risk losing any of your important files or pictures use an online backup service and back your files up locally. Make sure than when you are backing up locally that you don’t keep your backup device connected to your computer. This will keep your 100% safe from losing your important pictures and files.
You may ask that if you are backing your files up on an external hard drive or USB drive why you need to include a paid online backup service. The answer is that your USB Drive and External Hard Drive are not completely safe. There is a possibility of them becoming infected. Not to mention the possibility they are damaged or lost.
With most online backup services you are able to go back at least 30 days and restore previous files. That means if you don’t realize that your files have been infected right away for one reason or another you can still go back to before they were and recover the usable version of them. Most online backup companies have special procedures to help you make sure you recover clean copies of them so a simple request for help from their support will make sure that you are taken care of and safe.
You Can Stay Safe By Doing What You Already Should Be
Just to rehash what we’ve talked about. It is possible to keep yourself 100% safe from any picture or file loss caused by a file encrypting ransomware virus. Or any other type of virus or computer problem for that matter. All it takes is doing things that you should already be doing. Many of us get lazy or don’t know any better and don’t but we should all be:
- Using the best antivirus antimalware software we can
- Practice safe surfing by not opening email attachments without verifying them and staying away from questionable websites
- Don’t ever let someone remote into your computer that tells you that your computer has notified them it was infected
- Use a local and an online backup method to keep your files completely safe
- Replace your surge protector every 6 to 12 months
These practices will keep you and your computer as safe as possible. While 100% safe is impossible, using both local and online backup practices will make sure that at least your important pictures and files are always safe no matter what.
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