Computer Security – Beware Ransomware

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Computer Security

Computer security is a growing problem. Have you heard about ransomware?  Do you know how to protect yourself against this kind of cyber attack that has been crippling consumers as well as businesses all over?

Computer Security

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system. This type of malware forces its victims to pay the ransom through certain online payment methods in order to grant access to their systems, or to get their data back. (Trend Micro)

Hackers are using this system to cause havoc all around and as bloggers we need to be aware of this in order to protect ourselves. Everyone of us should be concerned because unfortunately this problem is not just limited to large businesses.  Ransom prices vary from less than $US50 to over $600; in some cases hackers have asked to be paid with the bitcoin equivalent.

In 2014, the FBI received over 1,800 complaints about ransomware, an estimated loss of more than $23 million. In 2015, the bureau received over 2,400 complaints, and victims lost over $24 million. (CBS News)

Computer Security

 

Computer Security – Beware Ransomware

The problem is growing. The ransom demands are pretty low (for now) and most persons are just paying up in order to have access to their files.  The loss to an individual or business can be huge even though the ransom is not excessive.   If a company’s website is down for a day, or even a few hours, the loss in revenue can be great.  Many people are not even reporting this crime so it is hard to say what the real numbers are.

Here are a few companies that have been affected:

  1. City of Plainfield, New Jersey – staff member clicked on an infected link
  2. The Village of Ilion, New York
  3. Police department in Melrose, Massachusetts
  4. Hollywood area hospital
  5. Advantage Benefits Solutions

They are preying on people’s willingness to click.  Once a person clicks on an infected file the computer is compromised.  You are no longer able to access any of these files because it either encrypts all files or locks the user out. Unless the user pays and receives a key, they are not able to access these files.   Once the ransomware takes over, the compromised computer is of no use to the user without the key.  Of course you can only get this key after paying the “ransom.”

Conceivably, every business and consumer using the Internet is a potential target for ransomware perpetrators, although small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) have become particularly easy marks. (Woods, 2016)

So how can we protect ourselves?

  1. Resist the urge to click unless you are sure
  2. Practice good user habits
  3. Patching or updating software often
  4. Backup often
  5. Disable remote desktop protocol
  6. Make sure your security suite is reputable

Additional Information

http://www.welivesecurity.com/2013/12/12/11-things-you-can-do-to-protect-against-ransomware-including-cryptolocker/

http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/ransomware-dos-and-donts-protecting-critical-data

https://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/mmpc/shared/ransomware.aspx

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Resources

CBS News.  How ransomware hackers “prey on people’s willingness to click”.  Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ransomware-hackers-cyber-attack-threats-increasing-nationwide/

Ransomware.  Retrieved from http://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/definition/Ransomware

Woods, B. (2016). Virtual extortion a big business for cyber criminals.  Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/17/ransomware-is-targeting-us-companies-of-all-sizes.html


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109 Responses

  1. Theresa says:

    How interesting! I wouldn’t have thought of the importance of this topic.

  2. Diane Purdy says:

    Thanks for sharing. rather a disturbing piece of software that is out there. Rather a real threat so please you wrote about it.

  3. Anosa says:

    This is pretty worrying, you would think people would know not to click random links these days as we are always warned about things like this but curiosity really does get the better of some people

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Anosa curiosity is going to be the death of us and all our hard work if we don’t pay attention to what we are doing.

  4. Omg is it bad that I had no clue what this ever was before I read your post?!?! Glad I now know so I know what to look out for.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Courtney…bad is an understatement. As small as the fees might be there are some persons who cannot afford to pay it and then what?

  5. Aziel Morte says:

    This is my first time to heard about this and really scary,

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Aziel please take the time to read up on how it works and inform those around you

  6. Liz Mays says:

    I’m very hesitant to click on anything, but this is scary regardless. Unbelievable!

  7. Idaintyit says:

    As if they even had the cheek to send the link to the police department?! That is insane How are they still getting away with it? Thanks for the advise, I never click random links anyway but always great to be reminded

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Idaintyit….can you imagine? that goes to show that they do not respect nor care about anyone…That was very brazen of them

  8. Angie Scheie says:

    This is scary stuff! I need to be better about backing things up. yikes. Thanks for the info and increased awareness!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Angie the recurring theme in most of these comments has been backing up of files. I am glad to bring awareness and remind us all that we need to pull up our socks in this crucial area

  9. Data security is so important and I’m really bad about backing up my files!! I really need to do so. Thanks for sharing this informative post!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Jasmine I think most of us do not pay enough attention to backing up our files so this is a warning for all of us. It is something we have to take time for just as how we take time to compile a blog post

  10. Michelle Blackwood says:

    I have never heard of ransomware before, I try not to click on links I’m not sure of but It can happen to anyone. These people are so cruel and dishonest, karma is around the corner waiting for them.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Michelle I hear you. How do we get away from these persons who could be anywhere. These are the same persons companies have to hire to do certain tech stuff so they have the inside information a lot of times. SIGH

  11. I got a virus like this once. It was a beast to get rid of it. Norton Anitvirus didn’t even get rid of it.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      I hear bit defender is the best now to deal with all the latest. I will have to check them out

  12. Monika Celly says:

    That sounds so scary. Better be careful than sorry!

  13. I’ve been hearing more and more about ransomware over the years. Very awful and it’s so important to raise awareness about ways to prevent being a victim of ransomware. Thank you for sharing!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Lalia I just recently heard about it on the news and I was flabbergasted to say the least

  14. Dana says:

    Wow! Thank you for bringing light to this…I’ve never heard of ransomware. That is really scary!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Dana I am happy to have been f service. If I can help one persons I am happy

  15. angie says:

    too familiar with this type of threat , having to pay the ransom once before and hope it never happens again
    come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

  16. Tamyara says:

    This happened to oney of my friends. It is pretty frightening. You should back it your files and don’t click on weird links.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Very true Tamyara…better to be called paranoid than to lose all that you worked so hard for

  17. Eugenia says:

    This sounds so terrifying. I never click on any link or mobile app no matter how cool they seem at first blush. I always upgrade software and make a backup to my devices! Thanks for sharing such useful information! Pinned it!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Eugenia you are most welcome, I am happy to have provided this information

  18. Melisa says:

    It’s kind of sad how often people click so indiscriminately. My mom wonders why I babysit her if she touches my computer, but she doesn’t listen to anything I say and will click without thinking twice. This is definitely a message that needs reiterated occasionally to get it pounded into people’s heads.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Melisa I am going to start policing the computer that I use the most with my business. I am thinking of getting one just for persons who visit because I am not willing to take that chance

  19. I have to confess this is the first time I am hearing about ransomware but I am so glad you are raising awareness. Pinning for future reference.

  20. michelle says:

    i get terrified every time i get an email that is sent to spam but doesn’t necessarily sounds like spam. i am so nervous to click on something that could be hazardous to my computer that i try to avoid anything my email deems suspicious. does that mean i might miss out on something that wasn’t spam? of course but i don’t want to risk anything

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Michelle so am I….the thing is they are getting more and more sophisticated and that is very frightening.

  21. oh man. this is new to me. i am glad you shared it. i used to be click happy before all of this hacking stuff came about..and now i am very aware. however, i have never had of ransom ware.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Dawn…what a world we are living in now…no fun at all…just no fun.

  22. Christine says:

    Oh my goodness, I had never heard of this until now! Thank you for the information and the tips!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Christine, I saw it on CBS and I thought this is something I have to share with my fellow bloggers

  23. Lawrence Hamilton says:

    Damn. I will definitely be on my toes as far as computer literacy goes. I don’t need these problems ever, but especially now. Will be backing up files more often!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Lawrence please do backup as often as you can. Also please share with your followers

  24. Crystal Gard says:

    Very informative. You should always be very careful when clicking on links on the web.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Crystal, I believe we have seen enough to be more careful whenever we are online.

  25. Ana says:

    Thanks for sharing this informative post! Data security is an important concern these days. I try not to click any unknown click unless I am fully satisfied!

  26. I’m really bad about backing up my files. This post definitely reminded me that I really need to do so and make sure to do it consistently.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Trish, if we were all to admit it, you would have lots of company. I hope this opens all our eyes though

  27. Virginia says:

    Thanks for the info. Luckily, I am cautious about what I click on.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Virginia I am really happy to hear that you are not click happy because it will lead to nothing good.

  28. Krystal says:

    I have never heard of randomness. I need to be more aware of what I am clicking on and make sure my computer is safe!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Krystal please take the time to read up about this and share it with your readers.

  29. Jenny says:

    This is so scary! Thanks for letting us all know.

    xoxo, Jenny

  30. suchi says:

    this is scary! i have heard about this! but never thought about it seriously!will keep the tips in mind!

  31. Ryan Escat says:

    This scary. Not really good. We should be more careful from clicking suspicious things

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Ryan we all have to be super vigilant because it might not even be your who click the item. I could be someone using your computer so that we also have to guard against.

  32. KRYSTLE COOK says:

    Thanks for telling me about ransomware. I had never heard of it. I try to be careful of what links I click on though.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Krystle happy to have been of assistance. Please pass this on to your readers

  33. Thanks for the warning! I stay away from emails/links that fall into my spam folder. They are there for a reason.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Czjai….amen to that….there is a reason it is called junk or spam and therefore we should proceed with caution

  34. Valerie Robinson says:

    I never click on link and suspicious things. Great reminder for us all.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Valerie I am with you on that one….we have to just keep being vigilant

  35. I was a victim before of clicking through something on a torrent. I have now learned my lesson. Thanks for the heads up on this. It’s always useful to learn things like this.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Kathy I am sorry to hear of your ordeal but the important thing is you have learnt your lesson.

  36. Keating says:

    Great information! I’ve never heard of this before.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Keating happy to have brought this to your attention. Please share with others

  37. mardenec@hotmail.com says:

    Adriana, you are most welcome. Do pass this on to your viewers

  38. this is very scary thanks for the alert

  39. I know someone who got hacked like this. The worst part is her computer gave her a warning about the site, but she clicked on it anyway.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Michelle at least her computer gave her a warning. Anytime I see warnings like that I am quick to comply and we all should take heed

  40. Alison says:

    This is really scary because it could happen so easily! I definitely think I will use these 6 tips on protecting myself and just be cautious about clicking on anything.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Alison none of is are immune from this and other cyber attacks. Even if it does not get us on a personal level with our own computers, places that we do business with can suffer these attacks and our information is held ransom.

  41. Nicole Escat says:

    I never heard this before. Terrifying and scary. Good to know this. Thanks!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Nicole I am only too happy to help. Please pass this on to your viewers

  42. Heather says:

    It sounds terrifying and it does worry my being a blogger and in blogging communities. I hope I can trust other bloggers not to link to things on their website that seem I trust worthy.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Heather all we can do is take the necessary precautions. This will no doubt make what we do that much harder with all of these restrictions.

  43. Tina says:

    What great information. One of my friends fell for this recently and it cost him $150 to get them to “fix” his computer. I wrote on the florists’ blogs to ask them if this were real or not, and their answers were 100% scam.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Tina, I am so sorry to hear about your friend. The good thing is the fees are quite low for now. Who knows who high they will take it in the future.

  44. marianne says:

    That sounds super sketchy and really scary. I have heard of it but didn’t know a lot about it. Thanks for sharing.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Marianne scary and sketchy is an understatement. This is the reason why I felt the need to share this with other bloggers just in case there was even one person who did not know.

  45. Amy Jones says:

    Sometimes i hate modern tech =/, guess well have to be on the lookout everyday.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Amy I hate to say it but sometimes modern technology is a pain in the butt. So many things are going awry because of it…

  46. Elizabeth O. says:

    That sounds really terrifying, I can’t believe people would do this, but it’s not surprising at all. We just have to be really cautious and definitely not click on anything suspicious. Sigh, it’s disappointing, isn’t it?

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Elizabeth sometimes I just want to climb into my bed and stay under the covers. I am not surprised at anything these days. SIGH!

  47. Vi Dotter says:

    Wow – thanks for being the “need to know” for the day for me! You have an awesome way with titles – totally got me clicking and then wondering “didn’t it just warn me not to – ha!” Reading this with total interest.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Vi you had me laughing out loud because I never even thought about it like that. Hahhahahahahahahhahahahaha…..I wanted to share this with anyone who is not aware.

  48. Didnt know about this! Thnks for raising awareness! I mean.. as you said.. maybe an employee is the one who clicked

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Ana that is the scary part. If other persons use your computer who are not as careful, anything is possible. I am thinking that I will have a computer at home for any visitor/family who needs to use it but I will also have separate ones for my business just as an added precaution.

  49. Cecile says:

    I just recently read about this. So scary! I can’t believe there are people who would do this to others.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Cecile believe it. It is beyond scary but we just need to pay close attention to what we are doing.

  50. Its all about paying attention, clicking on content from only people that you like, trust and know they wouldnt send you malware. Also Its essential to have a strong Anti Virus and Firewall. And to also clean your PC daily before shutting down with an Anti Malware like Trend Micro, McAfee, Avast etc! And believing that its not your portion period!

    Plus caution you have shared in this post. Thanks for sharing for sure Mardene!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Julie, is scary to tell the truth. Tiring and scary because everyone is out for a quick buck…

  51. Emma white says:

    I never click on a link if I don’t know where it’s come from, I’ve known this to happen to quite a few people, you can never be to careful x

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Emma I hear you, we can never be too careful. I don’t know why persons keep clicking on things so easily

  52. tara pittman says:

    Sad to think that these scams take place. I need to be more Aware of this and be safe.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Tara it is exhausting to trying to keep up with all that is going on but we have to be wary and protect ourselves

  53. I use Bitdefender, which scans all links for me. I never click on anything that Bitdefender marks as dangerous. Also be sure to back up your files to another drive regularly.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Heather thanks for sharing..Backup is really key and just being responsible. I am not sure why people, in this day and age, are so click happy.

  54. Robin Masshole Mommy says:

    Yeah, this is old news. Anyone who clicks at this point deserves it.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Robin, for the life of me, I still do not get why people love to be so click happy. Even though it is old news, it still keeps happening. Sometimes it is not you but the people who you allow to get on to your system. Sometimes they are in the dark and that is where problems arise. As in the case of that company where 1 employee clicked on the wrong link and threw the whole thing out of whack.

      • I would go further and ask the question – why do people continue to get scammed? It might be old news but not everybody is paying attention. In the case of scammed many are senior citizens or as you say those who are willing to take chances to get – operative word is get – money for free. The same might be said for those who click on things or we trust blogs and their owners and click on what they share with us. 🙁

        • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

          Claudette thank you for adding that. Just because we are aware does not mean everyone else is.

  55. Jessica says:

    I saw this on the show “The Good Wife” and looked in to it at that time and learned it was a real thing. Scary.
    –Jessica

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Jessica we need to all pay attention to what is going on around us. I saw it on the news and decided to do some research