Ransomware has been a plague to individuals and businesses for the past several years. At Integral, we constantly are bombarded with calls from folks who clicked on an email and infected their devices with this malicious virus. Unlike most viruses that are on the Internet, ransomware can modify the files on your personal devices and network and make them inaccessible. If you or your business has fallen victim to a ransomware attack, all may not be lost. Check out some free tools that can help you unlock your damaged files.
Ransomware is probably one of the worst forms of cyber attacks on the Internet. Cybercriminals distribute this virus via social engineered emails which are designed to trick you into clicking on a link in an email so the virus can infect your devices. Once the virus is on your computer, device or network a message will pop up on your screen letting you know that your files are encrypted. If you want access to them, you need to pay a ransom. When your files are encrypted, it's virtually impossible to access them unless you have a key to unlock them. Users of all levels have been affected by the virus. Individuals from large corporations have been at the mercy of cybercriminals. Some paying the ransom hoping they will get access to their files and others dealing with the loss of years of critical data.
Fortunately, there are people working to make sure you're never a victim of a ransomware attack. For the past few years, data experts and anti-virus companies have been keeping track of these attacks and providing free resources for you to get your files back. The leader of this effort is The No More Ransom project. The No More Ransom project launched in July of 2016 has a mixed partnership of individuals, anti-virus companies and law enforcement. They have published utilities over the years to fight back again ransomware. Because of this effort, if you suffer a ransomware attack, you can check out a database of tools that can unlock those files. Yes, it's like using that keyring to see which key opens the lock, but at least you have a chance of getting those lost files. One of the main reasons this project is able to provide these tools is the encryption tools that are used to lock up your files in a ransomware attack haven't changed much over the years. They even have a web site at www.nomoreransom.org where you can get full access to the utilities that might be able to decrypt your data.
Your best bet is to prevent ransomware in the first place. Follow these steps to keep your computers and devices safe:
1. Ransomware infection requires user interaction. Ransomware is often spread through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or through drive-by downloading. Drive-by downloading occurs when a user unknowingly visits an infected website and then malware is downloaded and installed without the user’s knowledge. Watch what you click on and where you surf on the Internet.
2. If your computer gets infected with ransomware, DON'T PAY THE RANSOM! The motivation behind ransomware is to make money, but it's also to identify individuals and companies that are willing to pay if their data is compromised. When you pay there's no guarantee that you will get your files back and it makes you or your business a target for future attacks.
3. Perform automated backups, preferably to the cloud. You should always, always, always, be performing backups of your files. External hard drives are great for computers and laptops and Windows and Macintosh computers have backup software built into it. The problem with relying on an external hard drive is your external hard drive can get infected with ransomware too. The same goes for those cloud storage services you love to use like Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. Cloud backup services like Carbonite and Backblaze create multiple backups of your data. If one set of backups gets damaged by ransomware, you can restore it from another set.
Ransomware isn't going anywhere which means you need to know what steps you need to take to keep you and your data safe and know what resources to turn to if you become a victim of a ransomware attack.
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If you need on-site or remote tech support for your Windows\Macintosh, computers, laptops, Android/Apple smartphone, tablets, printers, routers, smart home devices, and anything that connects to the Internet, please feel free to contact my team at Integral. My team of friendly tech experts are always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun. Reach out to us a www.callintegralnow.com or phone at 888.256.0829.
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