Ransomware is a growing concern for many businesses and individuals. According to recent statistics, more than half of all businesses have been the victim of a Ransomware attack. This contributes to the 50,000 or more cases of ransomware infections per month, which is a staggering number. Not only have attacks increased, demands have also gotten higher, with the average being near $700 per device.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that is installed on various devices. The software blocks access to key files, requesting the user pay to unlock or decrypt the device. Paying the “ransom” on the device does not guarantee that the device will become unlocked or decrypted or that it won’t be the victim of an attack again. The software tends to target individuals, but more businesses are starting to become victims of large-scale attacks.
Most ransomware is not presented as a single person demanding money. One of the most common viruses presents the user with a fake message from the “Department of Justice” or the “Department of Homeland Security” stating the device has been locked for security reasons. The message will typically accuse the user of doing something illegal, such as distributing pornography. It will instruct the user to purchase a gift card or money pack. Some will have timers or detailed instructions on where to buy the card.
How Do I Know this is a Scam?
Simply put, if the government or other official organization thought you were performing a very illegal activity, they would do more than locking your device. There would be legal procedures involved, and they would not go away with a few iTunes gift cards.
Because programs are getting more sophisticated, they may not appear to be from the government. To help identify scams, read instructions very carefully. Look for typos or other indicators that the message isn’t from an official agency. Never send gift cards or money electronically to unlock your phone; take it to a professional and report the suspicious activity immediately.
Why Does Ransomware Affect so Many Android Users?
Most people don’t knowingly download ransomware onto their phones. The malicious software is usually attached to a download or disguised as an app. Because Android often syncs to other devices and has far more users than other platforms, apps are far easier to build and distribute. By focusing on Android users, scammers can reach out to more people using a wider range of tactics.
How to Protect Against a Ransomware Attack?
The easiest way for a business or individual to protect from ransomware attacks is to verify every app or download being put on your device. If you have the time, research apps before installing them, even if they are a paid app. Should the phone become infected, try rebooting it in safe mode to get rid of the software. Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional to remove the software; this is often cheaper and safer than paying the ransom.
Education is also very important. Business owners may want to consider hosting team meetings and openly discussing device safety. By educating others on how to identify scams and malicious apps, businesses significantly reduce the odds that they will fall victim of an attack.
Being extra cautious of downloads and apps can help you avoid malicious software. Explore your safety settings and perform regular virus scans. By remaining diligent, businesses and individuals can stay one step ahead of most scams.
If you believe your company has been victimized by digital malware, a security breach, or you just need a trusted partner to help you optimize your computers and IT network , Contact JPMerc, and let’s talk.