How to protect yourself from ransomware attacks?

Ransome is malware that is designed to encrypt your computer’s files and you can not access your important files which are locked because of ransomware virus. It will infect your whole computer and lock all the files. Each locked file folder contains a ransomware note with a link asking for a hefty amount of money something about  500$ against a file that hackers have locked for a decryption tool.

ransomeware note sample

ransomware spiked 6,000% in 2016, and most ransomware victims, in an attempt to recover their data, paid the ransom.

This ransomware encryption takes only a few minutes for locking your all files and all of a sudden you will see all your files having weird kinds of extensions like .cezor for example.

Cezor-Ransomware extension sample

The most common attack methods are- 

 

Exploit Kits-

exploit kits

Exploit kits are sophisticated toolkits that exploit vulnerabilities cybercriminals use to take advantage of vulnerabilities in the systems. This happens when a user visits any kind of website which is having malware mostly torrent websites and downloads any files from it or interacts with something on the website then the real game begins if your computer does not possess any kind of protection against it. 

 

Email attachments-

 

Email malicious links

 It is designed to attack through attachments which we receive in our emails like PDF files, Xls, doc files. When victims open that file viruses install on the computer.

Attackers send an email with the content which user believes is true and downloads the attachments.

Email Links –

It is similar to email attacments that users think that the email came from a trusted source but when clicking on the URL which is given on the email it downloads malicious files on the victim’s computers and then the virus plays its part, It injects viruses on the system.

Using the cracked version of application software on the computer.

Most people use a cracked version of software like Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, and other various kinds of software that is paid or asking for a subscription. In fact, many of the Users download antivirus from torrent websites which is so silly.

India is more prone to ransomware attacks because most of the population uses pirated software and download pirated movies. If the government bans these websites they switched to a different domain name, So it is a long battle against piracy but we can do our best to not use these kinds of websites and install antivirus software that protects our systems from dicey attacks.

How to protect our systems from ransomware attacks-

 

1. Keep your system up to date –

This is one of the important steps that you should update your computer with the latest security patches like windows 10 provides updates from time to time but we ignore it and disable windows updates which is quite unsafe. 

2. Antivirus Sofware-

Make sure that your computer has installed good antivirus software that protects you from ransomware attacks. Please do not ever try to download it from pirated websites because that antivirus rather than protecting your computer inject viruses on your PC. If someone does not want to spend on antivirus there are free antivirus which is available on their official websites you can download it from there like avast, Malwarebytes,  Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and many more.

3. Update software application-

We should always update applications because they are updated with the latest security patches like for example Google Chrome, VLC media players, and other software.

4. Update antivirus database-

We should definitely update our antivirus database regularly usually it updates automatically but if it is in manual mode we should update it on regular basis.

5. Using Old operating system-

We should not use old operating systems like windows 7 and windows XP because they do not receive any kind of security patches and more at the risk of getting ransomware attacks. If someone still uses windows 7 they have to install anti-ransomware software on it.

Like in 2016 WannaCry ransomware made chaos by attacking old windows like XP and 7 all over the world.

6. Backup Strategy-

Recognize crucial and vital data on your system then make a backup of it so you can restore it if you lost your data ransomware attacks. You can back up your files on USB sticks, DVDs, Clouds, and on the external hard disk as well this strategy never fails.

7. Do not click on unsafe links-

Don’t ever click on unwanted links which we have seen on malicious websites and receive links on our email as an attachment. If you have good antivirus software installed then it will automatically block that link from taking action but don’t do it, please if it is not a trusted source.

Don’t download movies and software from torrent websites if you want your computer safe.

8. Never Plug-in unknown USB sticks-

This is quite obvious that cybercriminal placed some sort of virus on that USB stick through that to infect your system. So don’t plug in unknown sticks.

9. Use  VPN-

One should use a Virtual proxy network when connected to a public wifi network because your computer is more vulnerable to attacks. If you are doing a banking transaction please avoid using a public network or use VPN.

10. Disclosure of personal information-

Don’t ever disclose your personal information over call, SMS, text, and e-mails because maybe a cybercriminal is planning to target you specifically with the help of your personal information. 

What to do if you are unluckily encountered by ransomware and all your files are locked-
  1. Install Malwarebytes and it will remove all the viruses from your system run two or three scans of it.
  2. Then use STOPdecrypter it is the only tool available on the market for decrypting ransomware encrypted files, But it only works when an offline password is injected into your pc.
  3. Use shadow explorer if STOPdecypter does not work it will explore windows shadows and you can restore your important files but make sure all the viruses have been removed from your system otherwise virus will delete the shadows of the windows also, Use Malwarebytes for that purpose before doing any kind of restoration work.

 

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