How Dangerous is Ransomware Anyway?

Category: Security By: Ariana Smith Posted on: January 19, 2019

Ransomware alerts are a bit over-the-top. A victim might think the infection is a joke. The pop-up stating the computer owner must pay up a credit card-delivered ransom to regain access to a computer seems like something out of a sci-fi/espionage movie. Here’s some news: ransomware is no joke. The infection doesn’t exist solely in the mind of a creative filmmaker or novelist. Ransomware is real and, yes, the virus is dangerous.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a virus that locks down a computer. As the name suggests, ransomware overrides a computer user’s password access to his/her computer. Depending on the situation, being locked out of a computer proves troubling. Even a short lockout presents disasters. And the ransomware might not be the only virus infecting the computer. What if the hard drive’s contents are being stolen and downloaded? Out of panic, some may think to pay the ransom will get them out of a bad situation. Ransomware architects probably aren’t the most trustworthy of persons. Paying up money won’t automatically lead to the desired outcome or stop ransomware threats in the future.

The Dangers of Ransomware:

Anyone who doesn’t think a ransomware attack represents serious dangers should look at the 2018 attack on the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. The NHS serves as the epicenter of healthcare in the U.K.

The “WannaCry” cyber attack put hundreds of thousands of computers on lockdown. Thousands of appointments ended up canceled — a dire situation. Not everyone booked to see a doctor requires only minor treatments. With the hackers demanding a massive Bitcoin payment to unlock the computer systems, many people were left unable to see a healthcare provider. By the time the situation concluded, the NHS lost £92 million in IT costs. The NHS also learned a valuable lesson: don’t use outdated IT systems. Reliance on the archaic Windows XP system made things easier for hackers.

Take Steps to Prevent a Ransomware Attack:

Contacting a computer security expert to solve a ransomware attack makes sense. So does contacting the same experts to discuss methods to stop ransomware and prevent an attack. Keeping hackers out is a lot easier and less stressful than dealing with the aftermath of their attacks. Sometimes, preventive measures involve little more than not falling into the most common ransomware trap: opening an infected email file. Yes, the age-old concept of malicious fishing still works. So does taking common-sense security steps and updating all security measures.

Ransomware Expands Its Targets:

Although reports of sensationalized ransomware attacks may be down, the threat always looms over computer systems. Don’t think solely relying on Linux OS will save you. Ransomware may hit any operating system. The designers of the virus want to hit as many targets as possible. More targets mean more potential ransom money.

While no one should experience paranoia about ransomware-impending doom, it never hurts to be cautious. Learn about trends in ransomware and other viruses. This way, you can take steps to prevent and deal with the threat.

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Ariana Smith

I enjoy writing and I write quality guest posts on topics of my interest and passion. I have been doing this since my college days. My special interests are in health, fitness, food and following the latest trends in these areas. I am an editor at Content Rally.

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