There will always be new ways that others will attempt to separate you from your money. Ransomware happens to be the new way.
What is ransomeware? Ransomeware is the new type of malware that infects your PC, very much like a virus, in several ways. Most of the time you do not even have to download any software. You can get infected by browsing to a compromised website which sits and waits for you. What makes this type of malware different from others that once your PC is infected, the specially crafted software encrypts your hard drive in the background unbeknownst to you – until it’s too late that is!
Once your hard drive is encrypted, you will generally get a pop-up message on your screen stating that you need to make a payment in order to get the password and get your files back. The operating system will be unresponsive to any other attempts and the files will be locked. The only way to regain control of your PC is to format your hard drive and perform a complete reinstall of your operating system. They payment that the thieves generally accept is called Bitcoin, an anonymous crypto-currency.
Over half a million PCs were infected with ransomeware just in the first half of 2015! Are you protected?
The best way to protect yourself from ransomeware is to keep your applications and antivirus up to date. Never click links or open attachments from people that you don’t know. As always, regularly backup your files.