What is Ransomware, and Should I Be Worried?

Ransomware is going around again, and you need to protect yourself. Hackers recently hit a California hospital with ransomware, and it shut down their entire system. They couldn’t use most of their equipment, meaning that patients had to be transported to other hospitals. Staff couldn’t use computers or tablets, which meant that everything had to be done with paper and pens. Overall, not a fun week.

Ransomware hits plenty of personal computers as well. Here at Wise Computer Solutions, we see ransomware on a regular basis. Sometimes files from the infected computer can be recovered, but most times they cannot. That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself.
What exactly is ransomware? Quite simply, it’s a virus that infects your computer, locks your files, and holds them for ransom. Usually, there is a countdown timer that will flash on the screen. If you don’t pay in the time shown, the virus will delete all files from your computer.

The screen shown often looks like this:

There is such a thing as fake ransomware, however. These are viruses that will show the same screen, but don’t actually have your files encrypted and therefore can’t delete them. Unfortunately, there’s almost no way to tell if the ransomware is real without triggering the self-destruct command.

So, how do you stop this? There’s really no easy solution. Some antivirus programs have figured out how to stop certain versions of ransomware, but there are so many different variations that it’s impossible to stop all of them.

The only guaranteed protection is to backup everything. Files, software, emails, etc. That way, if your computer does get hit by ransomware, you can just format the hard drive and start over.

If you have any questions about ransomware, other viruses, or think your computer might have been hit by it, give us a call at 478-289-6607. We’ll do our best to recover your files and get your computer running again as soon as possible.

Get a free network security audit

Find out how your company might be vulnerable to security threats and learn how to fix them.