Ransomware is an encrypted computer virus that basically holds your PC “hostage”. The virus will prevent you from accessing any part of your computer until you pay a set ransom fee to the hacker. All files and applications are on a complete lock-down during the attack. After paying the ransom, there is still no guarantee that the hacker will release access to your PC.
Ransomware is split into two separate categories, encryption and lock-screen. When your files change so that you can’t open them, this is encryption ransomware. The files are encrypted or protected by a code to keep you out of them. Lock-screen ransomware will simply show a full-screen message that instructs you to pay money and keeps you from accessing any part of your computer.
Countries around the world have been hit with ransomware. Hackers have targeted the average user, to large companies and government agencies to block huge quantities of information and earn a large payout. A small team can infect millions of systems easily. In recent years, as cell phones become similar to computers, mobile ransomware has also become a threat.
There are a few ways to try and protect yourself from becoming a victim of a ransomware attack. Be cautious when opening e-mails, and clicking links from unknown senders. If you weren’t expecting an e-mail or do not know the sender, take a moment to decide if it is safe to open the message. Visiting suspicious or unsafe websites and clicking links that may look like spam on social media websites could also cause a potential threat to your PC.