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Watch Out Consumer: You’re a Major Target for Ransomware

Organizations are not the only ones at risk -- make sure you follow these practices to combat this virulent type of cyber attack.

Ransomware attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated with every passing year, raising concerns for businesses and consumers alike. While these attacks were originally geared towards businesses in order to squeeze vast sums of money from them, hackers are now targeting consumers as well. These attacks aren’t just targeting computers either — your smartphone is at risk.  

Read More: The Facebook Malware Scanner Is Holding Users Hostage

One of the best ways to defend your smartphone from these attacks is with an antivirus software like dfndr security, which has a full virus scan feature that checks all your programs for malware. The app will check everything that’s on your device’s memory, as well as your SD card.

The recent rise of consumer ransomware is rattling for sure, which begs the question – what is the second best defense you can employ besides an antivirus software? Knowledge!

How These Attacks Happen
The main reason why hackers continue to develop sophisticated ransomware techniques is that they have a high success rate. As a consumer, you will never see them coming because they show up in the most unexpected ways, such as a pop-up, in an email or via SMS. If you open the wrong email, malware can lock your device out, forcing you to pay ‘ransom’ to gain the encryption key that reopens your device.

Research on ransomware targeted at consumers found that 38% of targeted individuals pay criminals to have their devices unlocked. 45% of consumers don’t even know what ransomware is, while 23% don’t backup files on their computer or mobile device. 48% are not worried about being hit with a ransomware attack at all, which is disturbing. The worst thing you can do is assume you won’t be a victim.

How to Avoid a Target on Your Back
Besides downloading security software for your device, there are a number of ways to protect yourself from ransomware. Make sure to keep your device up to date with the latest operating system. Without the combination of security software and an updated system, there may be security holes that a malicious email or SMS can exploit.

When surfing with your web browser, make sure Adobe Flash is turned off. Ransomware can sometimes enter your device through a Flash vulnerability. Also, stay away from questionable sites on the web because they may be littered with pop-up ads. These often contain false promises and a whole lot of malware.

Finally, make sure you backup all your files on an external hard drive or a cloud that you can use in case you get hacked. Losing all your data and being locked out of your device will sting less if your data is backed up.