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Ransomware – The online threat you need to know about.

by Norton-Team

There’s a new kind of crime in town and it’s starting to make itself known. You may have heard about it in the news, read about it online or worse still, you could have already been a victim. Its name is Ransomware and you certainly don’t want to be inviting it around to your house for high tea. 

Once this type of malicious software gets its foot in the door and onto your device it can be pretty hard to undo the damage, unless of course you pay a ransom. Ransomware uses encryption to hold data for ransom and has become wildly successful over the last few years at extracting money from innocent computer users.

The purpose of this software is to extort money from the victims with promises of restoring encrypted data. Like other computer viruses, it usually finds its way onto a device by exploiting a security hole in vulnerable software or by tricking somebody into installing it. Ransomware, as it is known, now scores high profile victims like hospitals, public schools and police departments.

The nefarious ransomware business model has turned out to be a lucrative industry for criminals that target not only people like you and me. Over the years its ill repute has made law enforcement team up with international agencies to identify and bring down scam operators.

Social media is now becoming the new front. With instant access to peoples wallets through our ever more networked society Cybercriminals are making too much money to cease this form of crime.  

How can I protect against Ransomware?
  • Arm your devices with a certified security software and most importantly keep it up to date with a current subscription. Remember with the thousands of new malware variants running every day, having outdated definitions can leave your devices vulnerable to attack.

  • Make sure all the software on your system is up to date. This includes the operating system, the browser and all of the plug-ins that a modern browser typically uses. One of the most common infection points is a malicious exploit that leverages a software vulnerability. Keeping your software up to date helps minimize the likelihood that your system has an exposed vulnerability.

  • Don’t interact with spam email - By clicking links or opening suspicious attachments, you could be inviting ransomware, or other malware, onto your device. Just delete spam immediately without opening it.

  • Avoid suspicious sites and downloads - Web sites that illegally promise free software, music, and movies are often bait to lure in unsuspecting victims. If you have teens in your home, who often like to visit such dubious sites, make them aware of this malware danger.

  • Regularly back-up your files - as in most cases when ransomware hits, it is difficult to remove and you will have no access to your files. Even if you do successfully remove the malware, your files may still remain inaccessible.

Are you protected against the "WannaCry" Ransomware threat? Find out more

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