Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that prevents you from accessing files, systems, or networks on your computer and demands a ransom to unlock them.
Where does it come from?
Perpetrators of ransomware attacks often use hacking methods we've covered in other security articles. The hacker tricks you into downloading ransomware onto your computer by opening an email attachment, clicking an ad, following a link, or even simply by visiting a website where the malware has been embedded into the website's code.
Once this code gets into your system, it will lock certain data and files stored on your computer, or sometimes it will even lock access to the computer itself. Some ransomware is even advanced enough to jump from your computer to others on the same network and encrypt files and folders on local drives, attached drives, and other drives on the network. Ransomware attacks can lead to the loss of critical information and data and cause costly disruptions to businesses and consumers' personal lives.
Often, you won't discover your computer has been infected until it's too late. When you try to access encrypted data or locked off parts of the system, the ransomware will prompt you to send ransom payments in order to unlock access to your computer.
Avoid Becoming a Victim
Of course, it's best to avoid letting your computer become exposed to malicious software in the first place. You can do this by being mindful of your computer usage so you can spot potentially harmful emails and websites. Stop before you click on any links in unexpected emails and never download files from websites you don't trust and that don't have proper security in place.
Some tips from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA):
- Update software and operating systems with the latest patches. Outdated applications and operating systems are the target of most attacks.
- Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
- Back up data on a regular basis. Keep it on a separate device and store it offline.
- Follow safe practices when using devices that connect to the Internet.
- Make sure anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are set to automatically update and run regular scans.
- For businesses, create a continuity plan in case your business or organization is the victim of a ransomware attack.
New Tripoli Bank wants to provide our community with as much information as possible to protect your personal and financial information from hackers. Here are links to several reputable organizations with resources on cybersecurity and up-to-date information on the latest ransomware attacks.
Federal Bureau of Investigation: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/ransomware
United States Secret Service: https://www.secretservice.gov/investigation/Preparing-for-a-Cyber-Incident
Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency: https://www.cisa.gov/ransomware