Ransomware - A New Computer Threat

 

Ransomware is the newest threat to computer users. It is a software virus that blocks your computer system until you pay money. The viruses have scary names, like Cryptolocker or Cryptowall . The first ransomware viruses appeared in 2013 but they have become more dangerous recently.

The viruses can sweep across the internet in a short period of time and infect millions of computers overnight. Ransomware  viruses spread via links, unauthorized downloads as well as email attachments. They hit your computer without you knowing it. In many cases the virus stops your hard drive from working or encrypts documents and photos, which then become useless.

Hackers demand money, ranging from a few to a thousand dollars, for letting you control your computer again. Not only PCs are reported to be affected by ransomware,  tablets and mobile phones have also caught the virus.

Virus developers are always looking for new ways to make money. Last year ransomware attacks went up by  100%. Currently, there are about 30,000 infections  around the world every day.

Although anti-virus firms are working hard to produce patches to protect such attacks, they are not always fast enough to provide security from every virus.

 

However, there are some things you can do to protect yourself.  Do not download suspicious files from the internet and be careful when you open email attachments. Finally , allow your  operating system to update regularly and make sure your anti-virus databases are also up-to-date.

 

Ransomware screenshot

Screenshot of a ransomware attack - Image: Motormille2

 

Related Topics

 

Words

  • affected = to do something that leads to a change
  • allow = let
  • appear = start to be seen
  • anti-virus firm = company that creates software to protect computers from viruses
  • attachment = file that is sent with an email
  • block = here: to stop something from working
  • currently = now, at the moment
  • developer = design, create
  • encrypt = to protect information by putting it into a special code so that nobody else can read it
  • hacker = someone who secretly changes the information on a person's computer
  • however = but
  • infect = here: to change or destroy information on the computer
  • operating system = a system on a computer that helps all the programs work together
  • patch = a small computer program that is added to software to solve problems
  • protect = keep something safe
  • provide = offer
  • recently = a short time ago
  • report = to give information about an event
  • scary = frightening
  • security = safety
  • spread = move from one place to another
  • suspicious = here: something that might be dangerous
  • sweep = travel very quickly
  • threat = danger
  • unauthorized = illegal, not allowed
  • up-to-date = including the latest information
  • useless = cannot be used
  • via = through