Ransomware is a virus that infects a computer, encrypts some files on the system’s hard drive, or lock the system entirely and display an onscreen message demanding a ransom for its removal.

The malware is not new. It emerged first in Russia sometimes in 2006, its venom spread to Europe, Canada, and the United States in 2012. It now poses threat to South Africa according to the IT security provider, Securicom.

According to Wikipedia, “Ransomware typically propagates as a trojan like a conventional computer worm, entering a system through, for example, a downloaded file or a vulnerability in a network service. The program will then run a payload: such as one that will begin to encrypt personal files on the hard drive. The malware author is the only party that knows the needed private decryption key.”

Beware, computers can be infected with Ransomware in a variety of ways. The virus can be downloaded unwittingly by users when they visit malicious or compromised websites.

Paying the ransom does not guarantee that the data will be returned, and IT experts agreed that there is no ideal remedy yet.

The Economist says, “The emergence of bitcoin, a digital cryptocurrency that can be used anonymously, is a big part of the reason. Most ransoms must be paid in it, and ransom notes typically explain how to buy it. Other online options such as PayPal require a credit or debit card, or a bank account, making them riskier for criminals.”

Ransomware programmers keep ahead of antivirus software by continually tweaking their code.

Photo Credit: pcvsecurity.com

Bolade Popoola Author

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