Malware is, indeed, not a new phenomenon. But the extent to which it has evolved in the recent years is not less worrying – take ransomware, for instance. What would you do if one morning, you woke up and got ready to go a few blocks away where your small business was located, eager to get to work, but only to find out that your work computer was locked? The only thing you could see was that one flyer, with a message demanding you to pay a large sum of money to an unknown party through the link provided in the next 48-hours or so. If you refused to do so, everything you had on your computer would be erased once the time is up.
Yes, ransomware is the cyber version of kidnapping. Instead of kidnapping your family member, it holds prisoner all of your important files, videos, photos, and everything stored on your computer – for a fee. When encountering this threat, more often than not, users would rather click on the provided payment tab to pay for what they referred to as a decryption key to free the files on your computer. This so-called decryption key would be given once the payment had successfully been confirmed, often through MoneyGram or Bitcoin. At the time of the threat, desperate users would take the easy way out instead of giving alternatives such as system reset, BIOS flash, or new hard drives installation a try. Just like how we lament on the loss of our important driving license and cards when we lost our purse, these users would do anything to prevent their important files from being locked and over time, erased. But is that a wise decision to make? Wise or not, users would take the best option for them at the time. Their decision, in turn, inspires more criminal organizations to adopt the threat in order to fund whatever clandestine operations they have.
So what do we, as internet users, have to do to avoid this threat altogether? It’s true that this ransomware attack is sent in the form of malicious code via what seems to be an innocuous email, but that is exactly where the problem lies in the first place. Unsuspecting users may not realize about the threat as the email seems like any other email which contains information on an invoice to be paid – unsuspecting users often do not think twice before they click the link to a .zip archive and have it installed before they even realize what they were doing. This is the primary reason why we all have to own a well designed antivirus to tackle the threat and eliminate it altogether. Ransomware is, without a doubt, an evolving project – which makes it difficult to keep track on. However, ransomware protections such as Bitdefender, Webroot SecureAnywhere, and Cybereason continuously update its defense mechanism to keep up with the evolving nature of the ransomware threat. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a careless internet users, prevention is always a better option than cure.