It seems that every single day, there are more and more threats on the internet. With the vast advancements in technology and cybercriminals becoming far more sophisticated, it’s no surprise that there are more things to worry about when you go online.

One of the most dangerous, relatively newer cyber threats is ransomware. It’s essential to understand what this is and how you can protect your computer from it.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that is one of the worst. It is created by criminals who want to gain full access to your computer and all of its data. Ransomware encrypts all of your files and prevents you from even accessing them unless you pay to have it unlocked.

Cybercriminals have somehow perfected the way this malware works. Still, at the same time, it’s possible to recover your files if you have used an effective backup strategy prior to an infection.

Essentially, ransomware is created to lock you out of your computer and take over your precious data unless you pay for its release — hence, “ransom” being part of its name. While businesses and government entities are the most common targets of this nasty malware, everyday people can also become targets as well.

Damage from Ransomware Attacks

There are several types of ransomware threats out there. Some of the most well-known are WannaCry, SamSam, and GandCrab. The latter is the most common and has undergone a few different versions to make it more difficult to fight back once a system has been infected.

GandCrab was first known in January 2018 and stole around $300 million in ransoms from victims. Out of those who were attacked, the victims paid anywhere from a minimum of $600 to a maximum of $700,000 to get their data back.

Protecting Yourself from Ransomware

It is essential to protect your system from ransomware. It will keep your files and sensitive data safe. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Invest in exceptional software: Skip the free antivirus programs and pay for reputable security. It’s worth your peace of mind in knowing that you are investing in endpoint protection software that will keep your computer safe and secure if a cybercriminal attempts to target you.
  • Update antivirus and anti-malware software: Always regularly update your antivirus and anti-malware software, so it is familiar with all the latest threats. Remember, new ransomware and other malware comes out on a daily basis.
  • Be aware of suspicious emails: If an email appears suspicious, you should immediately trash it or mark it as spam. If there’s a link or attachment included in it, avoid clicking on them.
  • Regularly back up your files: Even if you get the best ransomware prevention software available, you may still have a nagging feeling that you can still get hit with an attack. If this is the case, you should make regular backups of all your most important data. Generally, anything you don’t want to lose should be backed up. You can do this using an external hard drive or cloud storage.

Knowledge is the key when you take measures to fight against ransomware or any other type of malware. Use these essential tips to keep your computer and all your most important data safe.