Can You Become a Victim of Ransomware?

Can You Become a Victim of Ransomware?

Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing and most destructive cyber threats in today’s world. These attacks surged by 144% in 2021, and the problem is only expected to develop in the following years. In 2020, health care, education, and professional services were the most popular ransomware targets. However, today, anyone with attractive and essential data can be a target for these kinds of attacks.

Last year we witnessed countless high-profile attacks on corporations and firms across the globe. So far, six ransomware groups have taken more than $45 million and are responsible for breaching the cybersecurity of more than 290 organizations.

The three most significant ransomware attacks that made headlines all over the world in 2021 are:

  1. COLONIAL PIPELINE
  2. BRENNTAG
  3. ACER

The malicious software, better known as ransomware, has only one aim in mind: to extort money from its victims. Unlike any other malware that works on the principle of hiding and sneaking to extract users’ data without their knowledge, ransomware is pretty straightforward.

The demands of ransoms criminals are simple. Pay the ransom or have your work severely compromised or completely shut down. So, what exactly can you do to minimize this attack?

Thankfully, you can’t get hacked when using a VPN, or at least not behind your back, with premium providers like Le VPN.

Is There a Way To Remove Ransomware?

Can You Become a Victim of Ransomware? | Le VPN

The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies perfectly when it comes to ransomware. The truth is, if you are a victim of this malicious attack, there’s no guarantee that the criminals will unencrypt your device whether or not you pay up. So, what can you do about it?

First and foremost, if you find yourself with this infection, the FBI advises you never to pay the ransom because all that does, is encourage criminals to launch additional attacks against you or someone else.

One way to deal with this infection is to download a security product known for remediation and run a scan to remove the threat. While this does not guarantee you that you will get your files back, at least you can rest assured that the infection will be cleaned up.

There is a slight chance of retrieving some encrypted files using free decryptors. However, be aware that even if there is a decryptor, it can be unclear if it’s for the correct version of the malware. Therefore, pay attention to the ransom message itself, and it will be best to ask for advice from an IT specialist before doing anything on your own.

Still, everyone should have some cybersecurity skills, and knowing how to spot malware is one of them.

Ways to Protect Yourself from Ransomware

Perhaps the biggest misconception about this malware is that only millionaires and multinational corporations are at risk. This cannot be farther from the truth. Cybercriminals also target the data of average users. Sure, they may “only” request a few hundred dollars ransom, but when that threat involves a thousand more people, it makes for quite the lucrative venture.

Generally, the best way to combat this or any other malware is by not becoming a victim in the first place. To not become a victim, there are several precautions you should take.

#1 Update Your Programs and Operating System Regularly

The first thing you should do to protect yourself from becoming a victim of malware is update regularly all of your organization’s operating systems, software, and applications. This will help close the security gaps that attackers eagerly seek to exploit.

As you already know, users are fundamental players in the game because they are the ultimate gatekeepers of their operating systems at the end of the day. With that said, if your operating system is not up-to-date, you are more likely to become a victim.

Because it is so hard to stay on top of an ever-growing list of updates from ever-growing lists of software, changing your settings to enable automatic updating is highly recommended. This way, you won’t have to worry about manually updating your OS, and your data will be safer.

#2 Backup Your Data

This step should be a no-brainer. As you know, a ransomware attack works only if you have one copy of your data. With that being said, backing up your data to both cloud service and a hard drive should be common sense.

Make sure to test backups for efficacy routinely. And in case of a cyberattack, first, verify that your backups aren’t infected before rolling back.

Additionally, be extra cautious and skeptical. Those criminal organizations thrive on this planet because they prey on gaining your trust, which is how they trick you into giving them the information they shouldn’t have in the first play. With that said, make sure to be skeptical of links and attachments in emails.

#3 A VPN is Your Best Friend (Especially in Public)

Let’s set one thing straight. A VPN cannot stop ransomware. However, it can make you way less vulnerable to such attacks. A VPN hides your IP and encrypts your traffic and data, making it ten times harder for any hacker to target you, even on public WiFi.

The reality is that premium VPNs can go a long way to preventing illegal activity. When using public WiFi, make sure to use a VPN from a reputable VPN provider like Le VPN. At last, using a VPN as part of any larger anti-malware strategy is always recommended.

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Written by Vuk Mujović @VukMujovic

Vuk Mujović is the founder of MacTíre Consulting, an analyst, data management expert, and a long-term writer on all things business & tech. He authored blogs, articles, and opinion pieces aimed to help both companies and individuals achieve growth without compromising their security. Vuk is a regular guest author to Le VPN Blog since January 2018, where he gives his expert opinion on the topics related to cybersecurity, privacy, online freedom, and personal data protection. He also often shares his tips and best practices in relation to internet security and digital safety of private individuals and small businesses, including some additional applications of using a VPN service.

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