Ransomware: How It Works and How to Stop It

If the thought of cybercriminals stealing your data sounds more Hollywood than real life, you may want to read on to learn how to protect yourself from this ever-evolving threat.

These criminals deploy malicious software—known as ransomware—specifically designed to hold your data hostage in the hopes of a hefty ransom payment. It comes in many forms, so it pays to know what to look out for and how to choose the best antivirus software to fend off an attack. Consider the following tell-tale signs of a ransomware scenario.

An Official-Sounding Message

Your computer has frozen in place and you no longer have access to your files. You then receive a message from a high-profile organization like the FBI or the IRS accusing you of a crime and demanding funds. In this circumstance, it’s important to recognize that criminals are hoping to scare you into acquiescing to their demands. These organizations would only contact you through official channels. If you have any doubt, a simple phone call to a publicly-listed phone number should suffice.

An Unwanted House Call

You receive a call or a pop-up message from a tech support company representative who, with much urgency, asks to access your computer to protect it from a virus for a price. This, of course, makes no sense, because antivirus software doesn’t work by representatives making house calls; rather, it protects you by working in the background. Be suspicious and immediately disengage.

An Expensive Code to Crack

Criminals may also encrypt your files and ask you to pay up to have them decrypted. There’s no telling whether or not they’ll keep their word, so paying them is never the answer. Instead, align yourself with fast-acting antivirus software like Malwarebytes antivirus service to prevent security breaches before they happen.

The lesson here is to put your common sense to work and limit your online interactions to sources you trust. Don’t hesitate to investigate individuals or organizations you don’t recognize, because all it takes is one malicious attachment to put your identity at risk.

What Kind of Protection Do I Need?

Ideally, the only antivirus program suitable to your home or your business is one that lives on the frontier of cyber crime.

First and foremost, that means the program must be able to use a backup of your files to restore your system if need be. It should also receive constant updates about potential exploits to your system and work toward protecting you from those looking to take advantage of them.

Your antivirus should also work in real-time as opposed to reacting after a ransomware attack has already occurred. There are plenty of cybersecurity companies out there that use artificial intelligence to proactively identify potential threats and keep you safe whenever your system is running.

Finally, you want an antivirus program with an easy-to-navigate interface that gives you a complete view of all the endpoints in your network. Without having to toggle between too many screens, you’ll be able to make data-driven security decisions as efficiently as possible.

While nobody can guarantee that your computer will never get infected, you can make sure the latest in cybersecurity technology is working in your corner.

Key Takeaway

Cybercriminals are always looking for users with vulnerable systems who won’t even see their attacks coming. Instead of standing still, safeguard your privacy by using an antivirus program built to stifle ransomware before you even know it’s there.

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