“This operating system has been locked for security reasons.”
“You have browsed illicit material and must pay a fine.”
Ever seen these messages while surfing online? This is a scam employed by cyber criminals through using a malware to disable the victims’ computers until they pay a sum of money.
Ransomware first emerged in Russia and Eastern Europe in 2009 and has spread all across the globe, causing major data security issues.
Professional cyber gangs will be able to enter your computer and identify your location, masking messages as those from local authority to increase its credibility. The malware disables the computer completely and it seems impossible to access unless ransom is paid.
Statistics show that about 68,000 computers are infected by ransomware monthly and out of which 2.9% will choose to pay. Ransom typically range from $60 to $200 which means that cyber criminal could potentially earn up to $394,000 every month! Estimation shows that $5 million is being extorted from victims every year.
Backup your data regularly. It is important to diversify you backup activity so the failure of any single source will not lead to irreversible loss of data. It is ideal to store a copy in your cloud server and an offline source such as a portable hard disk.
Install security software that are up to date is extremely as malwares are changing every day. What worked yesterday might not work today, it is said that having an outdated security software is as bad as having no protection.
Configure your webmail server to block suspicious attachments with extensions like .exe, .vbs, .scr, which are common virus files. If the message is sent by someone unfamiliar, refrain from opening any attachments as emails can be masked as notifications from a delivery service, an e-commerce resource, a law enforcement agency, or a banking institution.
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