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I am sure you’re aware of Ransomware but in case you’re not aware, this is a type of malware that restricts your access to your own system files. It is covertly installed on your computer without your knowledge or intention and it demands you pay a ransom (mostly in bitcoin) to the operators to remove the restrictions placed on your system.

And this is no idle threat. If you don’t pay up, you can say goodbye to your documents, videos, pictures, files and most things you’ve saved over the years. The documents will simply disappear or your system will remain locked up until you completely reformat your system.

You might be feeling this doesn’t concern you or you cannot fall a victim to such, well think again. The way they operate, anyone can fall victim and I mean anyone. The operate basically by phishing– these are fake parcel delivery notifications, customer complaints and official letters that can be very much convincing and all you need to do is click on a malicious website or download an infected file, and you’re the latest victim.

To safeguard your system against attacks, do the following.

  1. Update versions of software/apps on your system that are outdated and ensure your operating system is always updated.
  2. Remember to back up your files. You can make use of any preferable cloud services.
  3. I know you have an antivirus software on your system, but in case you don’t, please do get one as soon as possible.
  4. Say no to suspicious emails and links and also educate your employees (if you run an organisation) about opening unsolicited emails.

In the event that you get infected, there are programs that are in the market that can decrypt your files, but incase that doesn’t work, just go ahead and reinstall your OS. Yes, you will lose your files but please never pay the ransom. There is no guarantee that your system is free of infection after the payment, and you will be supporting fraudulence.

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This article was first published on 16th May 2016


Muna is a software programmer and developer with a passion for technology.

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