5 Ways Ransomware Can Infect Your Computer
The number of ransomware attacks has risen at an alarming rate, with many personal users, businesses and even large organisations falling victim to this increasingly common type of malware. To protect your computer from ransomware, you need to understand how it can infect and take control of your system.
Here are five ways ransomware can infect your computer.
Ransomware can hide in email attachments, including Microsoft Office and PDF files. While most people are wary of opening email attachments from people they don’t know, malicious emails often appear to come from a legitimate source, such as a government agency, bank or even close friends. Avoid opening attachments unless you are sure of their source.
Links in emails, social media posts, forums and messaging apps can direct users to infected websites. These malicious links are often disguised as links to reputable websites. Hovering over the link with your mouse should give you the full web address and help you to identify suspicious links. However, social media users often use URL shorteners (services to reduce the length of a website’s address), which can make it more difficult to spot malicious links.
Online advertisements can be used to distribute most types of malware, including ransomware. Advertisements are a common source of drive-by downloads, which work by exploiting security flaws in your browser or other software in order to infect your computer with a virus or malware. These drive-by downloads can infect your computer without your knowledge, even if you haven’t clicked on the advertisement. The best defence against this type of malicious advertising is to keep your browser and software up-to-date with the latest security patches.
Ransomware attacks were once confined to computers and laptops, but mobile phones, tablets and other devices have become prime targets for cybercriminals, leading to an upsurge in the number of ransomware attacks on these devices. Mobile apps can be used to spread malware or direct users to infected websites. You can reduce the risk of mobile ransomware by only downloading apps from trusted sources.
Cybercriminals pay hackers to find computers and devices with known security flaws, as this makes it easier to deliver ransomware to the most vulnerable machines. Using the automatic update feature to keep your operating system, software and browser updated with the newest security patches is crucial for protecting your computer. It’s also important to check for updates to your hardware drivers, as outdated drivers can also leave your computer vulnerable to hackers.
Ransomware attacks are on the rise and can affect both business and personal users. Email attachments, malicious links, advertisements, mobile apps and security flaws can all be used to deliver ransomware to your computer. Making a few adjustments to the way you use your computer will help to protect against ransomware.