Recently, you may have heard something in the news regarding the “Wanna-Cry” virus, or the term ransom-ware being used. Unfortunately, this is not new topic to in IT world, and is something that is always out there as a threat to you and your files. The “Wanna-Cry” ransom-ware virus is just one of many variants that have been floating around the cyber world in the past few months.
Ransom-ware is a type of malware that enters your system, and once it is “comfortable” (embedded into your system), it starts encrypting your files. Although encrypted files are good for personal security, it is only good when you can eventually decrypt them at a later time. Ransom-ware literally holds your files for ransom – demanding you pay to receive a key or password to decrypt your files. Without a key, your files cannot be opened or read by your computer. This has been causing problems for many individuals and multiple companies world-wide. Generally this type of software will encrypt all Microsoft documents including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, as well as pictures and PDFs.
When it comes to payment, many of the cases require a person to pay the ransom in Bit-Coins, and this is also one of the unique features of the ransom-ware. Bit-Coins are a monetary value system that has been used on the web to avoid exchange rates. This system also allows the perpetrator to be anonymous, and is why it is so hard to find the originators of most viruses today.
So what can you do to avoid getting hit with a ransom-ware attack? Most importantly, avoid clicking links and downloading files from sources you do not know. Don’t open junk mail, or even a suspicious looking email from one of your contacts. If you do get infected, the best way to combat this type of virus is to always make sure you have a backup of your data. When this happens, you can make sure the ransom-ware is removed from your system, and then simply reload your data and files from the previous day. When you are asked to pay the ransom, it is suggested that you do not do it, and also let your local authorities know about it as well.