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What happened on August 8, 2018 that affected people in more than 20 countries?

One of the biggest software security threats is ransomware. You may have even wondered how one gets ransomware or where it came from? The problem is that everyone is a target so perhaps the main issue is to be extra vigilant and protect yourself from being a victim. So let’s define ransomware: ransomware or ransom malware is a threat that prevents you from being able to access your desktop or personal files and then demands a ransom payment in order to regain access. Some ransomware will claim that you have committed a crime like pornography and computer hacking along with official looking pages. There are several different ways that ransomware can infect your computer. One of the most common methods is through the use of spam, not the processed meat product that we eat but through unsolicited email that includes attachments that are booby-trapped with links to malicious websites. People are tricked into opening attachments or clicking on the links because it truly appears legitimate because it comes from a trusted institution or even a friend.

As the saying goes, “Follow the Money”, while ransomware is a threat to everyone, cyber-criminals quickly realized that targeting small to medium-sized businesses was where the true profit lays. Ransomware could place a halting stop to a business’ ability to function by attacking and freezing their systems and files and thus creating a perfect storm for the extortion of funds.

The only true way to thwart these attacks have been to be proactive and install a layered security approach and educate Users rather than reactive after the fact methods. An investment in a program that deals with cyber-security will shield you from threats. Also creating a consistent backup of your data and files is suggested. These steps are much easier than having to deal with a ransomware infection.

But IF you have a ransomware infection, the advice by the FBI is to NEVER pay the ransom. Not only does this discourages covert cybercriminals from continuing their life of crime but also protects you from any additional cyber attacks against you as an easy mark.. Also at this point, it may be best to involve the help of IT professionals who will have more expertise to actually be able to detect the use of advanced or sophisticated ransomware. A full system restoration may be in order so you know that your computer has been scrubbed clean of the infection.

So what happened on August 8th was a ransomware attack called KeyPass which not only is able to lock you out of your computer now but has planted seeds for future attacks. KeyPass has appeared on its own without any User interaction and has included a way for the cyber-criminals to be able to customize the encryption process and the ransom note. Since the infection method of KeyPass remains a mystery, it is a critical that you remain proactive and guard your equipment from ransomware malware. Instruct your friends, family and coworkers to only download and install software from known sources and beware of so called software key crackers (the modification of software by removing or disabling features considered undesirable.)

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