Have you ever thought about how much your files are worth to you? If you had to put a price tag on them, how much would it be? If I had to think of my photos alone (family, vacation, life events etc.), I’d say they are priceless! One of these days, someone may put a price tag on your files for you. What’s more frightening is that you may be forced to pay to retrieve them. This malicious play is caused by Ransomware and it’s been around for a long time. These types of incidents are coming up more frequently due to attacks on government agencies and healthcare organizations. They are being forced to shell out thousands of dollars to regain access to their organization’s critical files. Recently, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center had to pay a 40 bitcoin (equivalent to $17,000) ransom to restore its systems. Why Bitcoin, you ask? It’s practically impossible for law enforcement to track. The hackers encrypted critical hospital files and then demanded the ransom for their release. The President of the Medical Center provided an official press release that you can find here.
Here are some things we think you should know about Ransomware:
- It prevents you from using your PC and as you guessed, it holds your computer and its files for ransom! It also has names like ”FBI Monkeypak” or “FBI Virus”.
- It can work by encrypting your files so you can’t access them and then demand you pay money to retrieve them.
- To protect yourself from being a victim of ransomware, make sure you are performing data backups of all your files. Ideally, this data will be kept on a separate offline device
- Keep your antivirus software definitions up-to-date.
- Check to make sure you have the latest available patches for your devices operating system.
- Be careful what links you click and attachments you open in e-mails, especially if you don’t recognize the e-mail address or person they are from.
As always, we encourage you to keep your information and files safe by practicing safe internet habits! Happy Web Surfing everyone!