Ransomeware cyber attacks is undoubtedly the hottest news right now in the internet community. With its rampage having spread already to over 180 countries, anyone who has anything to do with the internet has a reason to be concerned, cautious and willing to get as much information as possible.
To show that this latest development in cyber crime is not to be handled with kid gloves, the internet giant, Microsoft, has warned that the attacks should be treated by governments around the world as a “wake-up call.” Also, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), was reported as saying that this is the time for Nigeria to fortify its network to avoid cyber vulnerability.
So, what really is the ransomeware that is causing global panic of this magnitude?
This post is intended to be as simple as possible, to make it very easy for even a non-regular internet user to understand.
Ransomeware is a malware. A malware (malicious software) is a maliciously written software that takes over your computer or mobile device and therefore disrupts its proper operations, steals sensitive information, displays unwanted ads, and in some cases, destroy your gadgets.
Ransomeware operates just like a kidnapper 🙂 who steals what belongs to you and demands for a ransom. This can be paying money or carrying out a task. So, ransomeware stops you from using your computer or mobile device and files and demands for a ransom to release it (them). In some cases, the hackers might not even release the computer and or files after paying the ransom. They can target any PC computer, whether it’s a home computer, endpoints in an enterprise network, or servers used by a government agency or healthcare provider.
What exactly does the ransomware do?
Once your computer or mobile device is infected, you may not be able to:
1. access your computer
2. access your files – documents, photos, videos and every other thing you have in there. This is because your files will be encrypted (converted into forms known as ciphertext, which cannot be easily understood by anyone except authorised parties).
3. use some apps like your web browser, will stop functioning.
How can ransomeware gain access to your computer?
1. It is automatically downloaded when you visit a malicious, unsafe, fake or suspicious website or a site that has been hacked.
2. Opening malicious emails and email attachments from people you do not know
3. Clicking on malicious or bad links in emails, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media posts, instant messenger chats, like Skype.
How to protect yourself from ransomware attacks?
1. Install and constantly update your antivirus software and other malware fighters. I advise you set them to auto update.
2. Avoid clicking on links and attachments from people you do not know.
3. Regularly do a back up of your files.
4. Be very careful with the social media. There are tons of links there. Some of them are malicious.
5. Do a regular scan of your gadgets. If possible set a time for it to do it on its own.
6. Do not open any email which has attachment with tasksche.exe file.
7. Do not visit suspicious websites.
8. Watch out for fake emails and webpages that have wrong spellings, or just look abnormal. An example is where a mail supposedly sent by your bank does not bear the official email address. Also, look out for strange spellings (like “Whatsapp” instead of “WhatsApp”) or unusual spaces, symbols, or punctuation (like “Gtbank” instead of GTBank”).
9. Do not be careless or easily deceived with what you see and read online, like, photos, offers, beautiful ladies etc.
10. Read, read and keep reading about internet safety.
I hope this post was useful. I just shared a useful info. Please do same for friends, family, business colleagues and other acquaintances.
Be cautious. Be wise.
Image courtesy of Freedooom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net