It’s a normal work day. You get your morning coffee, getting things done, feeling productive then you notice something weird. A pop-up appears. It’s a ransom note. It says that your files have been encrypted and wants USD500 in bitcoins to free them up.
Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way, and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction. Some forms of ransomware systematically encrypt files on the system’s hard drive, which become difficult or impossible to decrypt without paying the ransom for the encryption key, while some may simply lock the system and display messages intended to coax the user into paying. Ransomware typically propagates as a trojan, whose payload is disguised as a seemingly legitimate file; thus, ransomware is an access-denial type of attack that prevents legitimate users from accessing files.
Ransomware is a growth industry
The threat of ransomware is rapidly growing. According to report, 43% of IT consultants have had their customers fall victim to ransomware and 59% of respondents expect the number of attacks to increase this year. There are different types of ransomware. However, all of them will prevent you from using your PC normally, and they will all ask you to do something before you can use your PC.
- Prevent you from accessing Windows.
- Encrypt files so you can’t use them.
- Stop certain apps from running.
They will demand that you do something to get access to your PC or files. We have seen them:
- Demand you pay money.
- Make you complete surveys.
Often the ransomware will claim you have done something illegal with your PC, and that you are being fined by a police force or government agency. These claims are false. It is a scare tactic designed to make you pay the money without telling anyone who might be able to restore your PC.
There is no guarantee that paying the fine or doing what the ransomware tells you will give access to your PC or files again.