When hackers steal your money with ransomware attacks, most of the time it starts with a phishing email scam. It's scary how easy it is to be fooled.
You receive an email that looks like it comes from a company you know or a coworker. In fact, that's exactly how people like you and large corporations have been ripped off to the tune of $24.1 million in just one year, according to the FBI.
Yet, there's a much scarier type of ransomware out there. This one spreads like a computer virus from one computer to another.
It's a semi-automated attack. Cybersecurity researchers say ransomware like this is about to explode around the world and it's not a far-fetched fantasy, either. Ransomware worms, like Samas or SamSam, which forced a healthcare facility to turn away patients last month, was a victim of this type of ransomware.
"In such attacks, hackers target backup files and records, encrypting them to make them an unreadable gobbledygook of characters," according to the Associated Press. "To regain access, users without additional safe backups who don't want to lose critical files often pay the ransom, typically $10,000 to $15,000 for an entire network or hundreds to thousands or so dollars for a single computer."
The ransomware targets your backed up files and encrypts them, so you can't access them. The hackers then demand ransom for the files in untraceable bitcoin.
To protect your devices and keep hackers from stealing your hard-earned money, you must have a rock-solid Internet security system.
As the AP notes, "the semi-autonomous nature of this ransomware means that defenses, such as maintaining updated and patched systems and safe backups, are more predictable than teaching users to safely use the Internet."