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Keep Your Files Safe — Beware of the Ransomware Takeover

Hackers’ version of holding you hostage, Ransomware, is spreading quickly. Here is some information on the virus and how to prevent it.

Ransomware, a type of malware, is spreading at an alarming rate despite agencies’ efforts to stop hackers and warn people of the attacks. Malware is used as a general term that encompasses many types of fraudulent software that attack users’ computers. Many types of malware can be difficult to recognize before they wreak havoc on your files, as is the case with ransomware, giving it a sneaky advantage.

Ransomware is particularly beneficial to hackers because of the ease of monetization it allows. Hackers are able to attack thousands of users at a time by gaining access to their files and encrypting or locking them. Ransomware attacks can be particularly tricky to detect because they don’t come in a single form. Some hide themselves in emails, while others can be found in photos and links. In many instances, the media forms that they hide themselves in encourage you to open them with deceiving titles.

Read More: How to Detect a Virus on a Personal Computer

Once encrypted, a user’s files are not accessible by the user and can only be recovered by decrypting them. This is not as easy as it may sound. Some encryptions can take years to crack, rendering the person’s files useless.

What makes ransomware so attractive to hackers is that it automatically sends a ransom to an infected user, offering the user the opportunity to unlock his/her files for a sum of money, usually in the range of $300-500. With 4,000 attacks per day, this money adds up quickly for hackers, and it earned them $209 million in the first quarter of 2016. This figure makes ransomware the most profitable malware attack ever.

The malware attack isn’t unopposed, however. Senator Barbara Boxer (D – California) began pressing James Comey and the FBI to take action in April after the number of attacks rose by 300% in the first quarter of 2016. The agency responded by releasing information about ransomware, statistics related to it, how to prevent it from taking over your computer, and how to react to an attack.

Since ransomware is spreading around the globe, many international security organizations are investigating the attacks to find their origin. Unfortunately, they have not had much success due to the fact that the hackers require victims to pay through bitcoin, a digital currency that is only available electronically. The currency is very difficult to track, allowing hackers to receive the money without leaving a digital footprint.

Luckily, you are not alone when it comes to detecting malware. The PSafe Total App offers unbeatable protection when it comes to viruses and malware, and has already detected HummingBad over 1,500 times. Download the app to get protected.