Protect your computer from "Ransomware"

More digitalisation, more risk. But we can't help it. Be alert and be safe. If you are not aware of the things, you can loose everything in this age.

Imagine hackers holding your computer files hostage, and then demanding money to get them back. It's called ransomware.

Ransomware payments for 2016 are expected to hit a billion dollars, according to the FBI. That compares to just $24 million paid in 2015. And it's expected to get even worse this year — with more victims and more money lost.

Experts even predict that the cloud could come under attack this year because it's such a lucrative target and could result in ransom payments in the millions of dollars.

Ransomware is a family of malware that blocks access to a PC, server or mobile device, or encrypts all the data stored on that machine. It's typically delivered via malicious email or infected third-party websites.

To regain access or control of the data, the user must pay a ransom — typically via bitcoin. The encryption is unbreakable and simply removing the malware will not solve the problem. The victim is forced to pay for the unique software key that will unlock everything.

The average ransom demanded in 2016 was $679, more than double the $295 demanded at the end of 2015, according to a report from Symantec. Some businesses that experience a ransomware attack are making 4- to 5-digit payments to get their data unlocked.

Everyone who goes online — via home computer or mobile device — needs to be prepared for a ransomware attack and take steps to reduce the chances of infection.

How to Protect Yourself :

Think before you click -

Most ransomware is delivered via email that tells you to click on a link or open an attachment. The message is designed to get you to open that infected attachment. It could appear to be information about a package delivery or an invoice that you're supposed to pay. If you're not expecting it, don't open it. IBM found that nearly 40 percent of all spam emails sent in 2016 contained ransomware.

Back up all of your data -

You should have a frequent and regular backup routine for all of your devices no matter which operating system they use. Apple software is not immune. Symantec reports that in March of 2016, "KeRanger" became the first widespread ransomware to target the Mac OS X operating system. You can back up in the cloud, on a thumb drive or external drive. Just make sure your backups are secure and not constantly connected or mapped to the live network or they could also get infected.

Update, patch and purge -

You should be set to receive automatic updates for all software, including operating systems, apps and security software — on all devices. Delete any applications that you rarely or never use.

Disable those macros -

IBM reports that document macros are now a common way to deliver ransomware. That's why macros for email and documents should be disabled by default.

"This is not something that happens to other people, it could easily happen to you," cautioned Symantec's Kevin Haley. "We really need to step up our protection because the bad guys are stepping up their game. There's just too much money involved for them not to."  

Any CLICK can harm you, be alert !!!