There are many threats we can find when surfing the web. Many types of malware that can jeopardize the proper functioning of our systems. The way in which they can infect our equipment is also very varied. In this article we are going to focus on ransomware. As we know it is one of the threats that have increased the most in recent times. This means that many users may be affected by this problem. We will explain how ransomware works , how they can infect us and, most importantly, how to protect ourselves.
How ransomware works
Ransomware is one of the most dangerous threats that can infect our computers. It is a type of malware that aims to encrypt our systems and files. Later he asks for an economic rescue so that we can access those files again.
It is basically malicious software that has been designed to add an extension to our files. That is what causes them to be encrypted and we can only decrypt them through the key that allows it. It can affect Word files, PDF, images … A great variety.
Normally it sends us a message to inform us of the instructions to recover the file . That ransomware may leave a system unusable. Upon entering we can see a text file or an image where it tells us what we should do if we want to access the system normally.
To access the archives they usually ask us for an economic rescue in return. You generally have to send a sum of money to a cryptocurrency wallet. Once the attacker has received the payment (although watch out for this, since in many occasions even doing this we will never be able to access the content) he will send us the password and instructions to decipher the system.
It should be mentioned that today there are generic codes that can help us decipher some varieties of ransomware. However, there are still others that are currently impossible to decipher.
How ransomware infects
Ransomware, as with most varieties of malware that we can find, can infect in many different ways. We will explain which are the most common and therefore we must consider to avoid.
Through an email
Email is a type of services widely used on the Internet. It is a way widely used by users and companies to stay in touch with others. We can send documents, receive files, messages … It is also present on most platforms.
Now, email is also a means widely used by hackers to carry out their attacks . We can see how our device is infected through a simple e-mail we have received. They usually use attachments that when opened or downloaded can execute malicious code.
These attachments can be text files, PDF, a simple image … They are very varied and it is vital to avoid downloading attachments without really knowing the source.
Through fake updates they could also infect us with ransomware. This can happen when surfing the net. We can run into messages that appear in the browser and tell us that we must update the system. We may receive a message that the equipment is at risk, for example.
These updates are nothing more than malicious software that has been created in order to infect our system. It is a ransomware hidden in fake updates. This can be present in any type of browser.
Downloads on fraudulent sites
Something similar can happen when downloading software from the Internet. We may arrive at a site that offers to download software that is actually a fraud. These types of programs may be installed on the computer but we would actually be adding malware.
Always keep in mind the importance of installing software from legitimate sources. It is vital to install from official sites and in this way make sure that this software has not been modified maliciously.
Vulnerabilities in the system
Vulnerabilities can cause malware to enter in general. Hackers can rely on security errors in the devices. This means that they would have a free way to introduce ransomware that jeopardizes the proper functioning of the system and, ultimately, our security and privacy.
Especially ransomware usually comes through vulnerabilities that are present in the system. It will be necessary to always have the latest patches and updates that prevent malware from entering.
It may happen that a hacker achieves the way to infect a website and redirect us to it. This way you could distribute malware that compromises our system. In this case we must be careful and know at all times the security of the pages through which we navigate.
How to protect us from ransomware
We have explained how ransomware works and what hackers rely on to infect us. Now we are going to explain a series of important tips to protect ourselves. The objective is none other than to prevent our team from being compromised.
Have security tools
A first important point is to have security tools . We will need to have a good antivirus installed to prevent the entry of malware that could put our system at risk. It will therefore be necessary to have security software that allows us to perform analyzes and avoid threats.
This is something that we must apply regardless of the type of device or operating system we are using. Everyone can be vulnerable when the time comes and be victims of some kind of threat.
Keep the systems updated
Nor can we forget to keep the systems updated . Sometimes vulnerabilities arise that can be exploited by hackers to carry out their attacks. It will be vital to always have the latest patches and updates installed.
Again we must mention that these updates should always be applied, regardless of the type of equipment we have or operating system we are using. In this way we can improve the security of our devices and not take unnecessary risks.
Download only from official sources
We have seen that through software download malware can enter our system. Therefore we will advise downloading only from official sources. This way we will make sure that the software we are adding has not been modified maliciously.
Whenever we are going to install a program, for example, we must add it from stores or official pages. It doesn’t matter if we are using a desktop computer or a mobile device.
Use common sense
Finally, although perhaps most importantly, common sense . Many times the ransomware arrives through attachments that we receive in the mail, for example. Normally they require user interaction to run. This makes common sense vital and not making mistakes that could put our teams at risk.
Our advice is never to download or open attachments that we receive in our e-mail. Nor access to possible fraudulent links that may put our systems at risk. These fraudulent links can also arrive through social networks or even instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp.