Cybersecurity Alert: Backup Your Files To Thwart A Ransomware Attack On Your Laptop And PC

Author

Steve Morgan, Contributor

November 18, 2015

Ransomware is on the rise and you should protect yourself by backing up your laptop and PC files today.

An advisory from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center this past June stated that more than $1 million a month, on average ($18 million over the prior 15 months), was paid to recover computers from Ransomware incidents. The FBI had received nearly one thousand Ransomware complaints from citizens, businesses, and government agencies.

Ransomware scams involve a type of malware that infects computers and restricts users’ access to their files or threatens the permanent destruction of their information unless a ransom— anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars—is paid.

Once Ransomware gets on your machine, it is nearly impossible to access your files. Over the past year, several police departments in the U.S. have been infected with Ransonware – and they paid ransoms of up to a few hundred dollars each in order to regain access to their files.

How does Ransomware get on your computer? Hackers will often send out thousands of emails at a time which contain Ransomware. An unsuspecting user clicks in the email, and the Ransomware is unknowingly installed. Cyber criminals are notorious for crafting email subject lines and copy that looks legitimate. The recipients believe the messages are coming from their banks, the IRS, or any number of other ‘official’ relationships they have – so they click where instructed.

The good news is that Ransomware is the easiest malware to protect against – by simply backing up your files. Ransomware is not always a ‘virus’ that disables your computer or creates any type of malfunction (although it is classified as ‘malware’ – meaning badware that is intended to cause harm). The hackers know that a good percentage of people don’t backup, and they’ll get their fair share of ransoms.

In addition to backing up your files, there’s a slew of good anti-Ransomware apps out there. Before buying, you might want to visit Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center. You’ll find a more in-depth description of Ransomware, various examples, how it works, and how to protect yourself. For Mac users, you can go to the official Apple Support Communities and do a search on ‘Ransomware’.

The British insurance company Lloyd’s estimates that cyber attacks cost businesses as much as $400 billion a year, which includes direct damage plus post-attack disruption to the normal course of business. Some vendor and media forecasts put the cybercrime figure as high as $500 billion and more. Ransonware is one of the fastest growing types of cybercrime.

Bottom line – don’t be lazy, go backup your files today!.

This article was written by Steve Morgan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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