“Ransomware” is what holds data hostage by invading one’s computer when the user clicks on a malicious link in an e-mail or downloads an infected attachment. Visiting a fraudulent web site can also trigger an attack.
Ransomware then goes to work at putting your files on lockdown so you can’t access them—but the hacker sure can. The crook will then have full access to your computer and all of your private information stored in it.
Ransomware in some cases masquerades as “Anti-Adware” or “Browser Security” claiming that the security product license has expired. Ransomware on Windows shows as a full-screen “error alert” like message. Though ransomware is uncommon, it’s a rising star in the world of malware.
How can you protect your computer from an infection?
- Ensure your computer is running the most up-to-date version of your chosen operating system.
- Use updated antivirus software.
- Never click links in e-mails. Always go to the source or use your password manager.
- Never go to unfamiliar web sites, as they can initiate the virus cascade.
Keep in mind that although malware and ransomware usually affect PCs running on Windows, malware can be created for any operating system and for mobiles. In fact, Android malware has been picking up steam. But Mac users should not breathe easy; they too, should be on the alert, says the McAfee Threat Report.
The best way to implement protection of your computer and devices is to install a comprehensive measure of security—in addition to sticking to that never-repeated-too-often rule of never click a link in an e-mail.