The internet has given us a connected and “instantaneous” world. However, our modern society is riddled with cybercrime. There are thousands of people who fall victim to cyberattacks every day.
One of the most common methods that cybercriminals use to commit their crimes is by using malicious software, which is also known as malware. Malware has caused a lot of damage over the years, but there is one type of malware that stands out above all.
Ransomware is the most dangerous form of malware, and it has caused billions of dollars in damage ever since it was created. It’s important for you to understand what ransomware is and how you can protect yourself from it.
What is Malware?
Malware is a type of software that cybercriminals use to commit crimes or to damage your device. The most common form of malware and the one that people are most likely to experience is viruses.
There are different types of viruses, and although not all of them are dangerous, some can be very destructive, so it’s always best to avoid taking risks when it comes to viruses and address them as soon as you notice them on your device.
Some viruses are simply annoying as they cause glitches and disruptive pop-up ads. However, others are designed to cause damage, and they can destroy some of your files. In some severe cases, a virus could even destroy your entire operating system.
Another popular form of malware to be aware of is spyware. Spyware is common and it is used to keep track of your internet traffic and steal your data. Some cybercriminals are able to steal your login credentials using spyware, so you need to be aware of this.
Why is Ransomware The Most Dangerous?
Ransomware is the most dangerous form of malware that you could come across on your device. Ransomware stands head and shoulders above other forms of malware in terms of the dangers it poses to you.
Ransomware is used to encrypt your important files or accounts. Encrypted files can’t be accessed or moved, so you essentially become locked out of your own documents. This can be frustrating for many especially since cybercriminals tend to target important files that you would need to use in the future. This way they can guarantee that their ransomware attack will be a success.
In order to regain access to the encrypted files, you must pay the ransom fee. The ransom fee can vary between different attacks, however, they are always over $10,000. Ransomware is the last form of malware that you want to have on your device.
Even if you do pay the ransom fee to the cybercriminals, it is completely up to them whether they will remove the encryption from your device. There have been cases where hackers left encryption on people’s important files even after being paid the ransom fee.
What’s worse is that ransomware is becoming more and more dangerous as the years pass. The damage caused by ransomware is estimated to be at around $20 billion in 2021 alone, which is up 57 times compared to 2015.
Experts estimate that a ransomware attack takes place every 11 seconds. This figure shows that the frequency of ransomware attacks has increased significantly as this figure was 40 seconds in 2016.
How can ransomware be installed on my device?
Ransomware can be installed on your device in the same way as other malware. In the majority of cases, ransomware is installed on the victim’s device through phishing scams and illegitimate links found online. Once the victim clicks on one of these links the malware will be prompted to begin installing on their device. Oftentimes, the malware is installed in the background, which means that the victim may never even know about it being on their device until it is too late.
How to Protect Your Devices From Malware
Keeping your device secure is the most important factor in avoiding cybercrime. In order to prevent a cyberattack you must use proper cybersecurity tools and ensure that you take extra care when using your device.
The best way to protect your device is to install premium antivirus software on it. Antivirus software will constantly scan your device for any malicious software. If malware is found on your device, the antivirus can take the necessary steps to remove it from your device.
You must ensure that your antivirus software is always kept up to date. Software updates help to fix any flaws that have been detected in the software. It is recommended that you turn on automatic software updates.
However, having antivirus software on your device should not mean that you can let your guard down. It’s always a good idea to learn more about the latest phishing tactics and how you can identify phishing emails to prevent malware from being installed on your device.
Always avoid opening emails from unknown senders and do not click on any links that you find in emails or while browsing the internet. You never know which link could put your device at serious risk.