Ransomware is a cybervirus that locks you out of your own computer’s files. A new strain of the virus is currently circulating the web and has seen several cases of infection in the last several weeks. According to authorities, the virus has, at this point, morphed to a fail-proof lock system. The only solution that has been presented is to literally pay the ransom in order to gain access back into your computer.
How Does the Ransomeware Virus Work?
Ransomware computer viruses can infect your computer in a number of ways. They can be installed from a website that you visited, an email or link that you opened, or even an instant message. Once opened, your computer will immediately lock up, forcing you to pay in order to regain access. Using names like CryptoWall, these viruses work by creating a pop-up window, or webpage stating you have broken some kind of law and must pay a fine to the FBI of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to resolve the issue.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
There are several steps you should take in order to protect yourself from opening this potentially devastating virus:
- Keep your software and security updated.
- Always have your network firewall turned on.
- Do not open spam emails, or links to suspicious, or sketchy websites. Be diligent and be suspicious and verify the authenticity of the email and/or sender to the best of your ability.
- Have files like documents, photos and music backed up on a secondary storage device. You should, however, make sure that your back-up device is not connected to your computer, as Ransomware can still infect and destroy the data when linked via Wi-Fi, or cloud networks.
- Be aware of online advertisements, as hackers can also use these to infect your computer. You should also keep your ad blocker software up to date in order to protect your computer files and your privacy.