What Is Ransomware?

What does ransomware do? It’s a virus that locks your file system, data or the functionality of your computer. The only way you can unlock your computer is by paying the ransom, usually in the form of Bitcoin. The effects of ransomware can be either an annoyance or devastating. This depends on the importance of the locked content. The cost to unlock your files depends on how valuable your data is. According to Google the last ransomware heist made close to $300,000.

We can expect more targeted and destructive attacks in the future, but also ransom demands that vary based on the attacker’s estimation of the value of the data being held hostage and/or the ability of the victim to pay some estimates of what their data is worth.

What Ransomware does

  • Locks all files and programs, except for the ones required to pay the ransom.
  • Kills all TSR’s or Terminate Stay Resident programs that would normally be running.
  • Removes your ability to browse the Internet other than to URL locations that will allow you to pay the ransom.

Once you pay the ransom, the criminals may send you a code that you can input into the Ransomware program that then allows you to use your computer or decrypt your data. In some situations, though, even if you do pay the ransom, the criminals will just take your money and run, with you being left with your problem unresolved.

The loss of your data and computer can be devastating, sending the ransom could be even more so. Depending on how the criminals want you to pay the ransom could put you at risk for Identity Theft as the information you send may contain personal information. Therefore, we suggest that you never pay a ransom unless it is absolutely necessary for data recovery. For screenlockers you should never pay a ransom as there are always solutions to remove these infections without paying anything. Last, but not least, it is important to remember that paying the ransom only continues to fuel the release of new variants of these types of programs.

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