An encryption virus, or ransomware, is a virus that is encrypted so that your antivirus software has a harder time recognizing its harmful nature. Usually, by the time your antivirus recognizes the problem, many of your files have been infected and cannot be restored due to the new encryption. The only way to fix this is to restore the file from a backup.
Often, users will be given the option to pay large sums of money for the encryption key and get their files back. This is always a scam to get your money and your bank information. Never pay the price or give them any of your information.
The main way to combat ransomware is through user awareness and constant file backups.
Encrypted viruses find their way to users typically through emails or harmful links and/or attachments. Here are some ways that you can avoid clicking on encrypted viruses:
- Double check, and then triple check. When you get an email that either looks suspicious (incorrect email address, misspellings, etc.) or that asks for sensitive information or a money transfer, the best thing you can always do is triple check (or quadruple check. There’s no such thing as too much checking.) The key aspect to check is the sender’s email address. For example, if you get an email from your bank, just because the sender’s address has the bank’s name in it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legitimate. Check on their official website by typing it into your browser or call to validate the email.
- Never click links in an email. Always type the website out yourself in your browser. Set your privacy settings in your email to require you to enable links or photos every time. You can check photo or link sources by rolling your curser over any photos or links—NOT clicking them—to see if the preview address that appears matches the link. If it doesn’t, it’s not authentic
- If there is anything suspicious about an email, never download the attachments. Call the sender for clarification or send a new email by typing out the correct address yourself. Never respond to the original email.
Ransoms are increasing. There’s currently a disturbing trend of increasing ransomwares. According to a report published by the Cybersecurity Firm Symantec, the average ransomware payment in 2016 was $294. However, researchers believe this number will increase to $1,077 by the end of this year. In other words, victims of ransomware are paying more than $1,000 for a chance to regain access to their files.
Not only are ransoms increasing, ransomware attacks are becoming more frequent. According to a separate report by the insurance company Beazley, ransomware attacks increased by 400 percent in 2016, and they are expected to increase by 200 percent the end of this year.
Elevated Tech works nonstop to keep your files protected and backed up to the most up-to-date versions in case of an emergency. We can work together to fight off all threats to your business and always keep you one step ahead. Call one of our experts at (281)-653-7726 or visit our website to learn more about how we make sure you will never pay the ransom.