Ransomware Protection and Digital Security Tips for Australians
Ransomware is every computer user’s worst nightmare. Horror stories circulate the internet about hacked bank information and transactions, users losing access to their social media accounts, and other financial losses. Ransomware with a particularly recurrent and widespread scope is the reason behind these unfortunate occurrences and regular Windows users (not Apple Mac users where malware is a bit rarer) are definitely at risk.
Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. Ransomware continues to be a prevalent global threat. Cybercriminals using ransomware pose a significant risk to Australia.
What is Ransomware Simplified
Have you seen the movie Ransom? Where multi-millionaire Tom Mullen’s (played by our Mel Gibson) son is kidnapped and held for ransom. You can think of ransomware along the same line whereby cybercriminals infect a computer device and hold its operations for ransom.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware). Once it gets into a computer device, it makes the computer or its files unusable. Once the device is infected, cybercriminals demand money $$$ dollars to be sent to them (using digital currency like Bitcoin so the transaction can’t be tracked). They promise to remove the malware from the infected computers once the payment is made (but they never remove the malware).
Do NOT send any money to anyone online regarding ransomware.
Be Careful About
Visiting unsafe or suspicious websites
Opening emails or files from unknown sources
Clicking on malicious links in email, SMS or on social media
Common Signs of Malware Infection
Ransomware is not a recent occurrence because it was present back in the days of floppy disks. Think of any type of malicious software as malware, therefore, ransomware is just another way cybercriminals have found to extort money from computer users.
Regardless of when or who created this version of malicious software called Ransomware, its a troubling threat and the first line of defense is to be wary and extremely careful of the links you click on. This includes links in emails, on web pages, on lead generating pages, as well as fake pages that resemble your bank transaction portals. Phishing links present on more web pages than you might think are the top way someone can create a fake profile and get you to divulge password and username information.
pop-up messages requesting funds or payment to unlock files.
you cannot access your devices, or your login doesn’t work for unknown reasons.
files request a password or a code to open or access them.
files have moved or are not in their usual folders or locations.
files have unusual file extensions, or their names or icons have changed to something strange.
Whenever you see something out-of-ordinary to your normal usage of your computer device STOP because it is better to avoid clicking on links from what you may assume are reliable sources such as your bank, employer, online platform, social media account as recent hackers have perfected their false online identities and it can be hard to tell them apart. There are always manual ways (perhaps you can phone and talk or visit in person) to confirm identity or change important details about online accounts.
If one of your emails (or SMS messages) seems to be from Facebook, Netflix, Google, CommBank, ANZ, National Bank, Westpac or any other Bank or any other social media account (or other important accounts you’ve created online) asking you to confirm your identity, confirm or change login details or passwords do NOT click on such links.
Data Protection and Recovery
Many people for the purposes of convenience keep most of their data stored on the system that they use for all their daily work. This means that if a hacker gains access to one account for example or into the computer they can theoretically gain access to other information as well. If someone saves bank data or other valuable data on their laptop it could easily get compromised this way.
Keep a backup external hard drive and run antivirus scans on it every time you plug in external devices so that even if a hacker gets through they can’t access sensitive data. Furthermore, enabling multi-factor authentication (through a mobile app etc.) can provide up to 90% better protection from phishing attacks and hacker attempts. The Electronic Fix offers Queenslanders needing digital data recover services in Brisbane professional options to recover data from all types of devices (SSD, HDD, USB) simply visit us.
Easy to Use Digital Security Tips
Try to keep your data and password information offline (that means not storing it on your phone either). While phones are less likely to download malware and ransomware they still can do so if you are not careful.
Update your Windows OS only using a trusted server (as in do not conduct window updates on public networks) and keep your internet browser and antivirus software up to date.
Use an email service that can lessen email spam and malware threats, or at least can provide you with scans and reports about phishing attacks.
Always choose to use highest level of login authentication as allowed by the software service. For example: Google, Facebook and many other platforms offer 2-factor authentication as well as setting up mobile phone number verification as well as mobile app authentication options. Choose security over convenience.
Talk to Your Digital Device Security and Virus Removal Experts
Always seek professional advice and help regarding malware and computer viruses. If you are living here in Brisbane Australia do keep in mind that The Electronic Fix offers wide range of IT solutions including computer security audits as well as virus removal in Brisbane Queensland Australia.
Got a question regarding Ransomware or just want to find out how to better secure your digital devices? We’re here to help as we provide professional computer laptop and internet security audits as well as solutions for individuals and businesses throughout Australia Queensland Brisbane.