Ransomware is one of the biggest cyber threats out there. What it does is it encrypts ALL your data, locks you out and demands a ransom. Typically, ransomware authors order that payments be sent via cryptocurrency or credit card.
But how do I get Ransomware?
One of the most common methods today is through malicious spam. These emails might include malicious attachments, such as PDFs, Word documents or links to malicious websites and will come off as legitimate messages from friends or other trusted sources to trick you into clicking the attachments or links.
How do I protect my self from ransomware?
- NEVER click on links or attachments in email from unknown senders. Even if it's from someone you know, verify with the sender the contents of the email before clicking any attachments or links.
- BACKUP your data frequently in multiple locations.
- ALWAYS keep your operating system (Windows/Unix) and software up to date.
- Use reputable antivirus software.
- Show hidden file-extensions to expose the actual extensions of files on your machine. ".pdf" is different from ".pdf.exe" which might very well be a ransomware.
BONUS: If infected with ransomware, DO NOT PAY the ransom. It only encourages and funds these attackers and even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that you will be able to regain access to your data.