Why Every Internet User Must Protect Themselves from Ransomware

Anyone who is like me that loves going on the shopping networks looking for great deals are used to hearing the same sales pitch of this product is something that everyone should have!  Reality check; there are many products that might be fun, relaxing and beneficial to some customers but normally not something that everyone must own. 

Yet, there are times that we must bypass the norm when a situation or product does fall into the category of everyone should have.  Although the concept of ransomware has been in circulation for some time, recent global attacks of this devastating virus has been a wake-up call to internet users that they must do something to protect their computers from contracting this virus. 

Then again, I am sure there exists those who have little or no idea of what this term means or the utter destruction this could cause.  With that said, let us look at defining what ransomware is, how to protect your computer against it and why everyone who uses the internet must protect themselves from ransomware.

Breaking Down What Ransomware Is

When looking at ransomware, the important thing to realize would be this is something you do not want; period.  The purpose of this virus is for a hacker to accomplish one goal: to secure something that belongs to you.  Naturally, you want what was taken back and the only way that will happen is if you pay for it to be returned. 

There are two types of ransomware with the first being the most common, which is encrypting ransomware.  Besides being the most common, this version causes the most problems as it removes access to the documents that are the most important by replacing them with copies that are encrypted.  The only way to gain access again is to pay the ransom (varies but usually $200-$500) and then get the key to decrypt the information; you hope. 

The other type of ransomware is different in that instead of taking control of specific documents, it denies total use of mobile device or computer.  While it may sound more problematic, it is easier to get rid of this screen locker type of ransomware, so the level of threat is not as important like ransomware that is encrypted. 

One thing to point out is to ensure your payment cannot be traced, Bitcoin is one form of payment while another would be either a prepaid debt card or a gift card.  Now armed with a better understanding of what ransomware is and how destructive it can be, let us discuss how to better protect yourself from this unwanted menace.

How to Avoid Getting Ransomware
Knowledge is the ultimate power and the more one learns about ransomware the better your chance of not acquiring it.  One way is to be careful when opening emails or attachments within.  What a hacker does is to infect a Microsoft Office document or PDF inside of an email you believe is trustworthy. 

Once opening it, nothing will appear to be wrong but as time goes on, the infection is working behind the scenes to achieve its’ goal and when the time is right; a ransomware message appears giving you limited time to pay the desired ransom.  So, a clever idea would be to not open any attachments contained in an email from someone unfamiliar. 

Even if it is from someone you know, if it looks suspicious you should either scan it or contact that person to see if they sent it.  The reason for checking is there is another virus that will attach to a person’s address book to copy all email addresses in it, then use the information to mask an email that appears to be friendly and when you click on the attachment or link, you have no been infected.    

Another avenue of protection is to download software that is designed to protect your system from being infected.  PC mag posted an article two weeks ago that not only discusses ransomware but software suggestions that can provide protection for those who feel they can use some.  One suggestion I would make is to check out something new called VIPRE Advanced Security for Home 2017

I have and currently own VIPRE security and it has worked fine for me; however, the advanced version came out in May and is totally different from the original because it was developed to combat the ransomware attacks that have been occurring.  The protection offers an Artificial Intelligence makeup where it can perceive a threat and immediately respond to it for extra level of security. 

I recently purchased it and will write about it at another time when I receive it and set it up on my computer.  Until then, I strongly urge you to read up on it and can be purchased through HSN at an incredible discounted price.

Final Thought About Ransomware

I hope I have successfully sounded the alarm as to why everyone who uses the internet must protect themselves from ransomware.  We have discussed what it is as well as the distinct types that exist.  Another thing we talked about is how to avoid getting it by paying close attention to any document or attachment you might receive in an email as well as the different software available to help combat this threat. 

Anyone who would like to see the PC mag article I mentioned previously, go here for further info.  Finally, I must end our conversation with a simple question; what did you think?

[See More: Is Syncing Your Devices More Dangerous Than Beneficial?]