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Ransomware: What is it? and some tips

The ransomware has become very fashionable in recent months, causing real headaches for both individuals and companies and institutions that have been the victims of one of these attacks. And although we tend to think that those things "always happen to others," the truth is that if proper precautions are not taken, anyone can end up being the subject of cybercriminals.

What is ransomware?

It is a type of malware (malicious software) that can attack your system in two ways: firstly, by encrypting your documents and system files, so you do not have access to them (eg Locky or cryptolocker); or blocking your entry your entry to the operating system, so you can not access your files (eg Winlocker).

In either case, the ransomware requests an amount of money (usually in bitcoins, and a time limit to pay) as a ransom to decrypt documents or regain access to your system, respectively. However, pay the ransom not only is no guarantee of recovering your computer and your data, but you are also helping to finance future attacks of these cybercriminals.

Here is a graph of what has been the ransomware lately:

The creators of ransomware usually go for two types of victims: individuals users on the one hand, and private companies and public institutions on the other. The first, because they tend to be "easy" victims who too often have not taken adequate precautions to prevent the attack, because they have the feeling that we mentioned before is something that is not going to happen to them.

As for the second type of victim, companies are attractive because they generally can ask them more money (and fear of the consequences that the attack may have about your business, tend to be more willing to pay).

Tips to prevent ransomware

  • Make a backup. You should never have important documents in a single copy. It is advisable to at least have another copy saved to another location, although the ideal is to have even two copies.
  • Keep the operating system and software updated. The new versions of the programs you use and the operating system, not only bring innovations in design or functions, but often fix security problems.
  • Keep informed about new threats. Information is power.
  • Do not click on suspicious links.
  • Do not pay attention to companies fake mails.

Here is a graph of the most violated programs:

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