What is Ransomware and How to Avoid It

The Facts

  • During a month up to 68,000 computers can be infected: the equivalent of 5,700 every day
  • Ransomware typically charges between $100 to $400 to unlock the computer
  • Ransomware is predominantly found on suspicious websites, and arrives either via a “drive-by download”, stealth download or through a user clicking on an infected advertisement. Some distribution via email has also been seen.
  • Early variants used a locked screen containing pornographic images to shame users into paying the fine, and are now using law enforcement logos.
  • Techniques have become more and more sophisticated with code built into ransomware programs to tailor messages to the right language and local law enforcement logo for example.
  • Even if a person does pay the ransom, the cybercriminals often do not restore functionality. The only reliable way to restore functionality is to remove the malware.

How Do I Protect Myself?

  • Have security software installed and most importantly up to date with a current subscription.
  • Make sure all the software on your system is up to date. This includes the operating system, the browser and all of the plug-ins that a modern browser typically uses. Keeping software up to date helps minimize the likelihood that your system has an exposed vulnerability on it.
  • Make sure you are leveraging the full set of protection features delivered in your security product.