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Hackers Use Fake Crowdfunding Sites to Make Ransomware Victims Pay

Find out how crowdfunding factors into this latest cyber scam.

PSafe CEO Marco DeMello, the founder of the company behind the dfndr security app, predicted an increase in ransomware attacks in 2019 year in a new cybersecurity video. A recent scam involving ransomware has already surfaced earlier this year with a new twist to urge victims to pay up. Find out how hackers are using stolen information from crowdfunding websites to add additional pressure to victims and how you can protect yourself from being the next victim.

Ransomware is a form of malware that uses encryption technology to lock the rightful owners out of a hijacked computer system, account, or device. The hackers demand payment in order to restore access.

Typically, hackers target accounts with weak passwords. Once inside the network, they can take over administrative functions and plant ransomware and wipe backup files. Victims are told trying to restore access themselves could cause irreparable damage to the infected systems.

A unique twist to these attacks is the cybercriminals promise that the ransom money will be donated to good causes in hopes of increasing the chances of being paid. As proof, the cybercriminals share pictures and stories of real children from online crowdfunding campaigns and local news stories that will allegedly be the beneficiaries of the ransom payment.

While this particular scam has been directed at businesses, ransomware attacks have become increasingly common on individuals. Any device, including your smartphone, is susceptible. Here are a few tips to stay protected.

Crowdfunding may seem noble, but watch out!

First, be careful about entering sensitive information into unverified websites. Never send passwords or other sensitive data through SMS, instant messaging, emails, or over the phone to anyone that contacts you. Cybercriminals will often impersonate representatives from companies you do business with claiming there is a problem in an attempt to trick you into sharing your data. The same tactics can be used to impersonate close friends and family members.  

Next, change your passwords frequently and make sure they are difficult to guess. It is a good idea to use a password manager app so all of your accounts have unique passwords. That way, if one of your accounts is compromised, cybercriminals will have more difficulty doing further damage by gaining access to other apps or accounts.

Finally, install ransomware protection such as dfndr security. Not only does the app have award-winning antivirus removal tools, but incorporates anti-hacking which can identify malware-laced links used to steal passwords. If you do become the victim of a ransomware scam, contact the local police and consult an expert to help remove the malware. You should never respond to hackers or send money.