Ransomware Isn’t Slowing Down for a Simple Reason — It Works

Threats & Hacks

It’s a story that’s been told thousands, if not millions of times, already.

One wrong click and bam! Files taken hostage by unbreakable encryption and there’s nothing you can do but give up — or pay the ransom.

There’s a reason that cyber criminals who run ransomware offer customer support and are raking in cash in numbers that need to measured in billions. And it’s the same reason that 193 different ransomware families were discovered between May 2012 and May 2016, with an average of 15 new families identified each month during Q3 of 2016.

The reason is simple: It works.

So we’re likely to see new iterations of the same threat adapted to spread more easily until it stops being so effective.

One of the keys to slowing this epidemic is… you. If you and the people around you are easy targets, criminals will keep cashing in on the same trick.

As Melissa explained earlier this year, there are five ways to fight back against ransomware threats — and they just happen to protect you from most online scams — so let’s review how to fight ransomware like your files depend on it, because they do:

  1. Change your mind.
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  2. Fight forward — with backups.
    The fight against ransomware begins, with reliable backups of your files.
  3. Keep all software up to date.
    Ransomware often exploits flaws in old software to edge in and take control of your files.
  4. Beware of email, especially attachments.
    Be suspicious of links and attachments in emails. Remember, the post office and the IRS don’t send ZIP files. And a document telling you to “Enable Content” is likely a trap. So:
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  5. Run reliable security software.
    Use software with a layered approach that can block known ransomware variants and new threats — software like F-Secure SAFE, which you can try for free.

If you’re reading this and you’re already infected, F-Secure Labs has some recovery tips. But we’re very sorry; there is no recovery process for ransomware that’s as effective as prevention.

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