Archive 2008 - 2019

What is ransomware, and how can it affect me?

by Matthew Payton

What is ransomware, and how can it affect me? At the core this multi-million dollar threat is intended to hold your data hostage until funding is provided. Traditionally these infections are spread through techniques which rely on user interaction, such as malicious email attachments, encouraging users to click on a link, or through java drive by attacks targeting insecure browsers resulting in fraudulent messages appearing on screen.

Unfortunately victims of these attacks are largely on their own, those that pay run the risk of providing financial details to unscrupulous circles, and those that don’t run the risk of losing sensitive data. Professionally this humble student advises against meeting the demands of these cyber thieves, and instead encourages users to take their systems to a qualified technician for an assessment.

            The most effective way to mitigate the risk ransomware presents, however, is through awareness and preparation. First and foremost ensure all sensitive data is regularly backed up either to the cloud, or to a device which is not kept directly connected to the main system. Remember no security solution is foolproof, checking systems to ensure the latest patches and updates have been installed assists in addressing vulnerabilities which otherwise may be overlooked. Most importantly exercise caution, be wary of suspicious URLs and unsolicited attachments, even when they appear to originate from trusted sources.


Writer - Matthew Payton is owner of Holliston based Bit Bull Com puter Service