Every day thousands of people find their computer locked down by ransomware – usually with the message “Your files are encrypted, to decrypt your computer you have to pay £500”.
You are then given only a few days to pay, after which the price goes up to £1,000.
After a week of no payment, you are warned that the decryption key will be irretrievably destroyed with no further chance of recovering your files ever again.
Additionally, they sign off with a flourish, CryptoMaster or some equally threatening moniker.
Ransomware is more common than you think.
Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts files on your computer and in some case completely locks you out.
It’s spread by hackers demanding immediate payment and is always accompanied by a message stating that your failure to pay will result in the ransom amount increasing in a couple of days.
The amount is usually about $/€/£300-500, in bitcoin. Once paid, you’ll receive the decrypter code needed to recover your files – except in most cases the decrypter doesn’t actually work.
The simple answer is no.
Viruses infect your files, software and disk. Ransomware messes with your entire computer changing extension names and usually focusing on photos, pictures, excel sheets and PDFs.
There is little to be done after an attack – making prevention and protection critical to maintaining internet security and online safety.
AVG anti-virus software provides this protection, but we’re not talking about the free AVG download.
AVG Ultimate is vital for complete online protection. AVG is especially good at detecting malware attacks in e-mail attachments and unintentional downloads.
It’s important to understand that no one is excluded from ransomware attacks.
The enormous WannaCry attack concentrated on a Windows vulnerability and spread to and infected more than 200,000 PC users simultaneously with Microsoft’s older XP (already discontinued) operating system being particularly vulnerable.
In the commercial sector over 10,000 companies, public authorities, and organisations worldwide including O2, Air France, the Bank of England and the US Air Force were hit and were forced to pay out millions.
There were dozens of reports all revealing that the decrypter issued by the criminals did not work. Photographs, old documents, PDF files and excel sheets – all lost without the ability to retrieve them. Not only were the criminals malicious, but they were also incompetent.
AVG themselves reported that their systems recorded over 124,000 interventions protecting customers. On average, AVG support centre’s reported nearly 300,000 separate attacks.
However, these attacks weren’t a problem for customers running AVG Internet Security or AVG Ultimate as they were fully protected on Phone, PC and all other devices.
Installing internet security on your Phone is like wearing a seatbelt or locking your front door – it is critical. A great internet security software option for Mac, PC, iPad and Android is AVG Internet Security at £40 from BeSecureOnline. This includes an unlimited number of installations – allowing you to protect your entire family without crippling your bank account.
Cybercrime is evolving constantly and new attacks are created daily – these are known as zero-day malware and are often extremely stealth and hard to remove.
With that said, any kind of malware attack is a complete inconvenience. Some malware targets files, while other malware pursues PC resources draining speed and leaving your PC unresponsive.
In most cases, an antivirus update should quickly clear up the problem. However, relying on the fix to run correctly and release your computer back to you is a huge gamble and costs at least 6 times the amount of buying an annual subscription to AVG anti-virus, ransomware protection.
Screenlocker ransomware prevents access to your computer or mobile device. It locks access to your device but does not block access to the entire device. It is the easier ransomware to defeat and doesn't pose the same “complete loss” threat. However, it’s safe to say that you won’t want to experience this problem.
Unless you’re locked out of your PC, deleting ransomware is pretty easy. In fact, it’s the same as removing a virus or any other common type of malware. Enter Safe Mode and either run your antivirus to delete the malware, or remove it manually.
So should you pay? Our answer is “NO” – prevention is better than a cure.
Instead, make sure that you have a good antivirus. This way you will never have to worry about ransomware in the first place. Remember there is no guarantee the criminals fix will actually work. We have seen this time and time again.
A cybercriminal’s only goal is to make money that means hacking into as many computers and ruining lives and businesses. There’s no duty of care to you, and we can bet that they won’t have a customer services department to complain to.
Ransomware is profitable, very profitable. Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin was arrested in Prague in 2016 after publishing pictures on Instagram of his luxury motor trip from Moscow to Prague. His earlier pictures included Rolls Royce, Aston Martins and his Lamborghini – proving millions are made off ransomware.
The data found on your device must be backed up and stored safely. Cloud storage allows you to access this information remotely at any time, however, this must be protected with two-way authentication to keep this information safe online.
Protect yourself with AVG Antivirus software. AVG offers essential protection against anything trying to negatively affect your computer. With AVG Internet Security you get Ransomware Protection - this blocks suspicious apps from changing files.
The 2017 WannaCry attacked XP especially hard, Microsoft eventually released an update, but the problem was that it was an unsupported deleted old discontinued operating system. Security updates are vital for your computer’s internet safety.
You must keep your operating system up to date to avoid vulnerabilities.
Make sure to always inform the Police of ransomware attacks. The authorities must be made aware of new and old ransomware techniques so that they can assist the public and help keep us safe online.
BeSecureOnline stocks some of the best antivirus software in the world, including AVG unlimited and AVG Internet Security, at the best prices. Visit our online store to view prices, packages and special deals.
We believe that when equipped with the power of knowledge and a good antivirus you can avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.
For more information about internet security software, AVG Ultimate or AVG Internet Security – please contact us.