The Basics of Ransomware
Ransomware is a malicious software that can encrypt your files and personal information, making them inaccessible. In order to regain access, you are typically required to pay a ransom to the attacker. Typically spread through phishing emails or by downloading infected files from the internet, once a person’s system is infected, the ransomware will begin encrypting files and personal information. Ransomware can be extremely devastating, as it can prevent you from accessing important files and data. In some cases, ransomware can even lead to identity theft.
Ways Ransomware Can Infect Your Device
There are several ways that ransomware can be downloaded to your device:
- Email attachments: Ransomware can be spread through email attachments, often disguised as something else such as an invoice or a shipping notification. If you open the attachment, the ransomware will be downloaded and can begin encrypting your files.
- Infected websites: You can also get ransomware by visiting an infected website. The website may have been hacked and contain malicious code that will download the ransomware to your device.
- Peer-to-peer networks: Ransomware can also be downloaded from peer-to-peer networks, such as BitTorrent. It’s often bundled with other software or files that are being shared illegally.
Once ransomware is on your device, it will scan your hard drive for files to encrypt. It then displays a message telling you that your files have been encrypted and demands a ransom be paid in order to decrypt them. The message will usually give you a deadline to pay the ransom, and if you don’t pay within that time frame, the price will increase or your files will be erased.
If you have been infected with ransomware, do not pay the ransom. There is no guarantee that you will get your files back even if you do pay.