Losing access to your business documents or precious photographs is something we wish you never experience. However, if you are unlucky and find yourself attacked by malware that is asking for a ransom to release all the files on your system, the question may arise: Should I pay ransom to Malware Creators?
Our simple answer and advice - NO
Why should you not Pay Ransom to Malware Creators?
Generally speaking, paying a ransom to malware creators is just boosting the malware creators to continue with their malicious work. As long as people will succumb to their threats, they will continue to operate.
Also, paying the ransom does not guarantee you will get back all your data and files. According to a survey, 20% of people who paid the ransom didn't get their data back. This stat is an active number, and you might not want to risk it.
After all, these people are unethical hackers that injected a malware in your system to extort some money from you. What is the probability they will keep their word this time?
Yes, I may sound pessimistic, but that's how the situation is.
Now you may ask:
So, my data is at risk, and you're asking me not to pay the ransom. Ok, But what should I do then?
Let me tell you…
What you should do after a Ransomware Attack?
Decade ago, it was easier to detect the malware. Most of the times it used to be some fishy plugin or tool in the web browser. However, as technology advanced, the number and types of malware increased. Recently, on 12th May the world saw a catastrophic malware Wannacry Ransomware.
This malware attacked more than 200,000 computers worldwide in less than 24 hours and asked for a ransom fee of $300 to $600 for reclaiming your data. Now, this virus attacked Windows PCs, and many people even paid the money which was in the form of bitcoins.
That was until a researcher, and ethical hacker prevented the widespread of this virus and saved the Internet. Now, the question arises: what about you? What should you do once there is an infection?
First off, don't panic and relax. And, Don't pay any ransom amount.
I know it's easier said than done.
Instilling Fear is Their A-Game
Once the malware creator successfully gets the control of your system, a ransom note with a digital clock ticking down each second displays on your infected system. Also, there may be a message stating the amount will double after some time. And if you fail to pay the amount, your files will vanish off the face of the earth.
In such a desperate situation, it sounds like a fair deal to pay the amount that varies from malware to malware than lose the relevant documents. But you have to get a grip on this fear. Remind yourself that instilling fear is their A-Game and it just doesn't guarantee anything.
Here is what you should do
1. Do you have a backup?
The first and foremost question is if you have a backup of your important files. In case, the answer is no; there may be other ways to recover your data rather than paying a hefty ransom which comes with no assurance whatsoever.
2. Look for other methods to recover your data
You may not know this yet. But there are some online tools, and official cybersecurity organization backed sites that can help you recover your files without paying any fees.
One of the sites called No More Ransom has helped more than 7,000 victims save over $2 million ransom money. You can also download ransomware decryptors from our website that will help unlock your files for free.
We have designed this list to help everyone out there stay protected and use the Internet safely. Hopefully, you will find the decryptor to unlock your files.
3. Remove Malware
If you still have time and the malware has not taken complete control of your system, you might clean your pc in the nick of time. Check this detailed How to Remove Malware guide for a step-by-step overview to get rid of malware and protect your data from malicious intervention.
Now with these few steps, you might just save yourself from paying a ransom fee to the malware creator.
Unfortunately, there may be a situation when you'll have to pay for the sensitive files when you find no other solution from the list.
However, if your PC does not have any infection, don't take it lightly. Malware attacks are real, and they can affect anyone anytime. Hence, it is important to take preventive measures before than later.
How can you Prevent Malware Attacks?
If you got assaulted in the first place, it was because you failed to take the necessary steps. For instance, people who got attacked by Wannacry Ransomware failed to install the necessary security patch on their systems.
Also, the ones duped by Netflix scam fell prey to email phishing asking Netflix users to reveal the banking and payment details by redirecting them to a spoof website.
As human beings, we are bound to make mistakes like the ones I have discussed above. But you can always prevent it to some degree.
Antivirus software can't protect you a 100%. No software offers a hundred percent perfect protection. But considering these few steps can help you survive in this unsafe environment of the Internet.
1. Keep your system and software updated
I cannot stress this enough. Ensure your system and installed software are to the latest version. Each update came with an inbuilt protection from bugs and suspected malware and virus. Keeping your system up to date ensures the first-level security at all times.
2. Do not install unnecessary software/add-ons
Yes, add-ons increase the functionality of the system and some software work great. But they may come loaded with malware and virus that you don't want on your system. Make it your thumb rule(the one rule that should always be followed and considered).
Avoid unnecessary installations and downloads. While you're at it, clean your system of bloatware and delete anything you don't use or require.
3. Install a quality malware protection software
As noted above, antivirus cannot protect your system or files from all kinds of malware attacks. I would suggest using a high-quality malware protection software on your system.
As a suggestion, Malware Fox does the job perfectly and provides zero-day protection. Which means even before your system is infected, it looks for doubtful patterns and prevents any malicious activity.
4. Disable Unnecessary Protocols
To make a point here, did you know that Wannacry Ransomware malware was installed on vulnerable systems using SMB protocol? Ironically speaking, this protocol is hardly used and still, some system uses it.
Wipe your system clean of any protocols you don't use and disable them for your good.
5. Automate Your Backup System
I saved the most important step for the last. Always ensure you have a backup of your files and sensitive data. Even if you get attacked then, you won't have to pay someone else to unlock your data.
There are many cloud storage providers and automation tools that can backup your data on cloud-based servers. This action will ensure a secure data storage and remote access to all your valuable information.
As new technology keeps coming up, new threats and malware will also keep piling up. That's a hard fact, and we all should accept it. You're as safe as your recent updates can help out. Taking the additional steps discussed above, you can protect yourself one step further.
While we don't say it'll keep you a 100% safe, it'll help you prevent attacks and get ready in case anything misfortune strikes your system.
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