Cyber threats: How to deal with ransomware

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Nowadays, malware and ransomware are the top cyber threats that plague the IT world. According to cyber security experts, between October 2015 – April 2016, the United States alone was hit by and increase of digital infections. Last year, the surges of ransomware were roughly around 35,000 each month. The highest spike of infestation was detected last March 2016 with a whopping 56,000 infections.

Ransomware is malware that infects a computer and the user will not be able to take control unless he or she pays for the ransom demanded by the culprit. Ransomware creators usually charge the victim around $600 to $1000; it’s a blackmailing scheme that will force you to pay in exchange for the full access to your computer. You think paying will simply solve the issue? You’re wrong! You’re already in the circle of blackmailing schemes; it’ll surely repeat once you’ll fall into their trap. For the sake of everyone, this post shows what you need to know what to do just in case you’ll encounter these problems.

Types of ransomware

There are many types of ransomware and they work in many different ways. You have to know what type of malware infected your laptop and to start searching for removal instructions. The most known and common are FakeBsod, Crowti, Tescrpt and Reveton and the worst one, Petya.

A big difference can make the type of laptop and operating system. The most common aimed infections are for Microsoft Windows, but some also targeted Linux, Mac OS machines and Android smartphones.

Step-by-step guide on how to remove ransomware on a computer

STEP 1: Install a bootable anti-virus in a pen drive

  • Download a good bootable antivirus from another computer. Install it to a pen drive; do not do this on the infected computer.

STEP 2: Boot into safe mode

  • This is the crucial step for getting rid of the malicious ransomware on your computer.
  • Infected computers are most likely uncontrollable; you’ll need to manually TURN OFF the computer. Press and hold the power button and it’ll turn OFF.
  • Turn ON the infected computer then press F8 until you’ll reach the Advance Boot Option. Use the arrow keys to navigate, select SAFE MODE and then hit ENTER.

STEP 3: Removing the ransomware

  • Insert the pen drive on the infected computer.
  • Open MY COMPUTER then browse the antivirus installed in the pen drive. Run the antivirus; the program will scan for any malicious entity on your computer.
  • Threats found by the antivirus should be deleted, not quarantined or just repaired.

STEP 4: System check and final cleaning

  • After removing all the infected files, restart the computer.
  • Once you are free to control your computer, the ransomware is deleted. We strongly recommend that you run again the virus scanner and customize the scan from NORMAL to THOROUGH scan so you can make sure that no malicious entity escaped the initial process.

How to protect your PC from ransomware and other cybernetic threats

  • Install an antivirus with a good track record. Additional protection such as a good anti-malware program and firewalls will help you secure your computer. Please bear in mind that computers with many protection layers suffer from performance issues. Keep your antivirus updated.
  • Backup your files once every six months.
  • Do not click any suspicious link that is sent to you in an email. Verify if the sender is a colleague or a family. Shady emails that contain malicious content are camouflaged as legit; better verify it first with the appropriate department before opening any suspicious company mail.
  • “Too good to be true” email deals are often containing a malware or a virus.
  • Popup blockers are your friends. Install a popup blocker in your browser. If you’re using Firefox, you can enable or download this plugin to provide additional security on your end.
  • Avoid questionable websites.

Once you received a notice from a ransomware, immediately disconnect your computer to the internet. This will possibly prevent the malware software to send your personal files to the culprit behind the scheme.

We hope you don’t have to encounter a ransomware infection. But if you find yourself in this situation, the above list will be very helpful for you. Any questions or comments are more than welcome.

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