What is Ransomware? How does it work?

in Project HOPElast year

We like to live in the present and hope that everything will be fine in the future. But, it is better to install the alarm in your house before the thief comes, than after he has been there, isn't it? So, that is why I would like to write about different sorts of security issues online, what they are, and how you can protect yourself against them. In this first post, I would like to write more about something called ransomware.

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Source: Pixabay

What is Ransomware?

Maybe you have heard about spyware and malware? Malware programs always come with malicious intentions. It is there to destroy and steal. There might be bugs in software as well, but since the intention is good, it isn't called malware.

But, when your device gets infected with malware, one can be certain that there is some bad intention in the background.

So, what is ransomware? What does it do?

If you have seen some action movies, you have for sure heard the expression ransom. Somebody takes hostages, and they demand money as a ransom to set the person free.

When ransomware is installed on your device, it takes your files or your entire storage captive. They do this by encrypting the files stored there, and the only way you can access those is by paying to get the key to unencrypt the files.

Normally such hackers will require you to pay them with Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency, and once the payment has been made, you will get the key to unlocking the files and you can yet again use them. Since payment is done with cryptocurrencies, ransomware is often referred to as cryptolocking among many people, simply because your content is locked, and the way to unlock it, is by using cryptocurrencies.

Is there a way to fix this without paying?

Unfortunately, the files are normally encrypted with a high level of encryption, so the only way to get access to the files again is by getting the code. This cannot be fixed with an antivirus program.

You can get rid of the actually ransomware running on your computer. You can delete viruses. But, since the files have already been encrypted, the only way to fix the actual files is by getting the encryption key.

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The only way to get access to your documents again is by paying a ransom in Bitcoin - Source: Pixabay

How to be one step ahead?

Luckily, the most popular targets for ransomware are banks, universities, law-companies, and more. Normally the hackers "only" ask for somewhere between $500-$2000. That is an amount many are willing to pay, simply to get the problem out of the world. It is also something they can pay quickly, as they don't need to go big rounds in order to get that sort of money.

Even though companies are targeted, it is better to be one step ahead no matter what. How can you be that?

  • Keep all your programs and operating systems up to date.
  • Install an antivirus program and keep it up to date.
  • Don't install programs you do not trust or feel insecure about.
  • Look around on the Internet if you feel insecure about something you want to install or fix.
  • Don't give permissions to programs that you don't trust.

This is my first article in a series on computer and online security. I hope you have enjoyed it, and if I find it to be a success, I will write more on similar topics in the future!

Take care everyone and stay safe online.


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This is an original article written by me for Project Hope!

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good recommendations, as an expert in the area I must say what it is important not to click on links on pages that are unknown or have doubts reputation, and never open emails from unknown addresses, never reveal your data and always have complex passwords

Those are very good recommendations!

@unbiasedwriter first of all very nice article. Ransomware is the biggest problem in current world we are not safe , apart from this we dont need to click on unwanted links. Other wise we will be a victim of another virus attack.

It is en emerging problem, but we can protect ourselves a lot just by knowing about the problem and taking the necessary precautions!

Good topic. I am wondering, do you think crypto will decrease the prevalence of ransomware or have no impact?

Well, I believe the center of ransomware actually is crypto, as it is the foundation for making people pay to the hackers in secret without sharing bank account numbers or anything else.

Over the long-term I believe crypto will have a positive impact. Crypto is a tool, a tech, in it's infancy. Aviation, for example, took a while before it became the driving force behind the modern economy. I believe we will one day see crypto increase Interent security overall. Though, the reason I asked was that I do not fully understand technically. I am still looking at broad applications like:

  • BTC for security
  • ETH for large enterprise solutions (IBM, Amazon, etc)
  • EOS for developers and dapps
  • and then there's WAX for gaming

In the case of WAX and other streamlined blockchains, I wonder about security, but then there are projects that use BTC to check/insure on the back end.

very informative post on holding things random