The Internet and connected devices are a gold mine for those who want to take your money illegally.
People share all sorts of extras and information that make it so easy that the reward for most internet pirates is worth the risk.
In recent ransomware attacks, about 200,000 computers and 150 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Britain, have been killed.
While large companies, hospitals and government agencies have to pay thousands of dollars to unlock their data. Like the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles, he had to pay a ransom of $ 17,000 to unlock their data after a week of trying to break the encryption.
The volume is much better.
Small businesses and individuals are a much more lucrative venture. Think of companies, governments and hospitals that have a whole team of IT people on staff and still be hacked.
The payout is huge, according to the FBI, in 2014 the extortionists (pirates) cheated $ 27 million in just 6 months from people.
The Vault 7 documents leaked from WikiLeaks to CIA documents were a treasure trove for those who wanted to create chaos and get rich in the process. Information stored digitally is common to most people.
The magic key to all this! Encryption! Encryption is designed with good intentions. Protect the data you and companies store so that if it is stolen, it cannot be accessed. Pirates now use this tool not only to encrypt your data, but also to load it to decrypt it. They don’t even have to conquer anything. All they have to do is prevent you from accessing it and depending on how valuable it is. Have them pay them to give you the key.
In most cases, the amounts are small for personal computers, maybe up to $ 100. But if they can attack a large population, it could mean millions in one day.
Maybe you ask how they are paid? Isn’t there a way to track money. We see it in the movies all the time. The computer fool in the FBI office tracks payments to the bank of the so-called. The perpetrator only for a few minutes and they were detained and the money returned.
Technology has solved this most inconvenient ability of law enforcement.
Bitcoin is a way to transfer funds electronically without a trace of who receives the payment. No banks, no regulations, no property.
The magic bullet to stop this nonsense from ever happening to you?
Simple, but most are not done often. Here is a list of 10 things you can do today to avoid such inconveniences.
1. Backup – If you don’t back up your stuff, you risk everything. Back up both on site and if possible in the cloud. The option is available for most backup software. Also, if you are backing up to a USB-connected device to your computer after backing up, disconnect the device from the computer. Most ransomware looks for connected storage devices and encrypts the data there.
2. Patch – This is a term that most IT people use to mean updating your software on your computer. Whether it’s your operating system (Windows, Mac, etc.) or the software running on your computer. Even those who update often like Java, for example.
3. Security – Use software to detect and remove software such as antivirus and anti-malware on all your devices, if possible, and make sure you allow updates to this software. I’ve seen people run antivirus programs and not allow updates. Crazy things ..
4. Unsolicited Email Links – Never click on a link from a sender from whom you have not requested information. Even if it’s from your bank, school or friend. Most ransomware attacks are done this way. If you are told that your password has expired or your mailbox is full and you need to log in using a link to correct it, it may mean that you are the target of such an attack. If this is your bank, for example, go directly to their website and change your password there. Don’t just click on a link.
5. Periodic scans – Most antivirus programs start the scan automatically or you have to start the scan manually. These scans are useful and can alert you to a potential problem. Schedule scans sometimes when you’re not using your computer, they often slow down your computer and can be really annoying for most people trying to work.
6. Passwords – Passwords are the keys to the kingdom. Treat them as such. You wouldn’t give the keys to your house to someone you don’t know, would you? Do not share them, save them and play them outdoors, as under your keyboard or stick them on your monitor. You may laugh, but I’ve seen it many times. Make sure your passwords are complex by adding special characters and symbols.
7. Be careful what you share – Giving the names of your mother’s maiden name and your first pet on social media can be a disaster, especially if it’s a question you asked as a security question for the website you’re accessing.
8. Spam – I get these calls all the time. This is such and such from Dell, for example. There is a problem with your computer. We need to log in to your computer to fix it. Here is the website you go to and enter this code. Unless you have a specific Dell support agreement and pay them to monitor your computer, there is probably no reason to do so. Companies like Dell do not provide free IT support.
9. Remove software – If you have software on your computer that you haven’t used in a year, for example, remove it from your computer. It is probably not updated and sometimes there may be flaws that are detected then a hacker can use to access your computer. Outdated software usually has feats that are commonly known to hackers.
10. Don’t share – If you download some cute pictures of cats online from someone you don’t know with a meme, don’t share. Photos can be embedded with malicious code that tracks your computer and can sometimes help download a virus to your computer. Photos from friends and family are great, but the unsolicited can open a box of worms you don’t expect