Ransomware is nothing to joke about. We've shared how this new form of malware is quickly becoming a favorite for cybercriminals. In fact, ransomware attacks surged 159 percent between April and May of this year. Click here for the full report on this rising crime.
Two or three clicks are often all that it takes to unlock the malicious code that will encrypt all of the files on your hard drive. Sometimes, with certain forms of ransomware, even your backup storage drives aren't safe. Click here to see how ransomware can encrypt your cloud storage too.
Now, the fight against ransomware is about to get worse.
That's because researchers have just discovered a new strain of ransomware that is expected to spread more rapidly than any other. It's called RAA, and it hides in an infected document that begins to encrypt your system as soon as the file is opened. That's really frightening.
Windows machines typically block .exe and .bat files from running automatically, however, .js files are not blocked. This means that if you're using Windows on your computer, the mere act of opening the file is enough to set the code into action and immediately encrypt your files.
This eliminates the need for additional clicks, and increases the odds of the scammers' success.
Before you realize what's happened, a message will appear on your screen that explains your files have been encrypted. It will demand that you pay a ransom of around $250 to $1,000 if you want to receive the decryption code and get your files back.
The good news is, there are steps you can take to protect your computer, phone and tablet from ransomware. Click here for step-by-step instructions to avoid becoming the next victim.
And press play to listen to our podcast on ransomware below. It'll play here and you can listen while you do other things.