Note: This is a guest post written by Stephanie Maddison
Ransomware is a notorious member of the malware family. Computer criminals use ransomware to block user access to a computer. They keep their targets at bay by threatening to publish their personal information on the internet. Ransomware is employed to extort money from targets, hence the name ransomware.
How Does Ransomware Work?
Ransomware is a type of malware that spreads through phishing emails or thirty-party downloads. Computer criminals install malicious attachments or programs to allow ransomware to spread to the target’s computer when they download something that’s already infected. Ransomware infects the user without their knowledge.
Crypto ransomware is a variant of ransomware. This type of ransomware is known to frequently infect computer systems, applications, and programs. It spreads through social media in addition to the method explained above. Hackers can infect target computers through web-based message applications such as Messenger and WhatsApp.
What Security Vulnerabilities Can Cause Ransomware?
Multiple reasons can allow ransomware to thrive on your system and infect your computer or smartphone. Both individuals and businesses can face drastic consequences due to ransomware attacks. Here are security vulnerabilities that can cause ransomware to infect a network:
- Technology that is no longer in use
- Outdated operating system
- Lack of backup plans
- No security patches
- Little importance is given to cybersecurity
Look at the points and see if you face any of these security vulnerabilities. If any one of the boxes gets a tick, you might face a ransomware attack. It is advisable to run a security check on your device to check for potential flaws. Also, you can upgrade to a new internet connection powered by Spectrum WiFi plans to get advanced encryption solutions for your smartphone on a PC device.
How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks?
The good news is that you can prevent ransomware attacks in several ways. Remember, vulnerable computer networks and applications make an easy target for computer criminals. The best way is to remain informed about potential cybersecurity threats. That said, these are the steps you need to take to protect your digital profile from ransomware attacks:
1. Do Not Open Unverified Attachments and Links
Ransomware spreads through email attachments and unspecified downloads. Oftentimes, people click on links without considering the possible consequences. Make sure you do not click on attachments in your email’s spam folder. Also, run every email for a virus check before opening it. One more thing, refrain from clicking on ads or you might initiate automatic downloads.
2. Do Not Respond to Unknown Calls or Text Messages
Computer criminals use fake calls and messages to blackmail their targets. They usually impersonate persons from government organizations and agencies. Their purpose is to stoke fear in their targets. This way they can get all the information they need. Avoid giving your details to unknown senders who contact you through phone or on the internet.
Computer criminals often use personal information to prepare phishing emails. They use different software and programs to mask their details or make them appear legitimate. In such cases, it is advisable to contact the sender directly. For instance, if you receive a phone call or an email message from someone claiming to be your bank representative, call your bank and confirm if they have contacted you.
3. Do Not Permit Third-Party Downloads from Unknown Sources
Unverified sites, links, attachments, and downloads are among the biggest reasons for malware attacks. Avoid clicking on links that could take you to a completely unfamiliar and possibly infected website. Also, pay close attention to the name of the website. The best way to trace a website is to do a quick Google search.
4. Use Legitimate Sources to Download Software and Programs
One of the biggest cybersecurity concerns is that hackers can mimic legitimate sources and software. For instance, they might convince you to download an application that won’t even exist on Google Play Store or Apple Store. Most users proceed to click on the link to download the application. The result: different types of malware creep into the system.
Make sure to download applications or programs from authentic sources only. Google Play Store and Apple Store are two of the most authentic platforms on the market. Make a habit of using either of these platforms (depending on your device) to download apps and programs. If you can’t find the app you are looking for, run a quick Google search to know its official status.
5. Always Keep Your System OS Up-to-Date
Whenever a new update comes, install it on your smartphone or laptop device. Make sure to enable auto-updates so that your device updates itself automatically. New updates come with advanced security features, making it difficult for cybercriminals to infect updated systems and programs with malware.
These were the steps to prevent ransomware attacks on your smartphone and laptop devices. The key is to remain vigilant and do not fall for the tricks used by computer criminals.