If you haven't heard of ransomware, you probably should make yourself familiar with it. Ransomware is probably the worst form of malware, because you are now at the mercy of someone else to use the computer or access the data on the computer.Generally with ransomware, you would have the malicious application installed on your computer that would allow someone to access your computer. The follow on steps can very, but it usually ends with the attacker encrypting your data, preventing you from accessing that data. You would then receive a message stating that your data will be held until some sum of money has been paid, and in some cases if the money has not been received by a certain time, your data will be permanently erased.

I have heard of cases where people have fallen victim to ransomware and the attackers used pictures from their computers camera for ransom. How many people have cameras on their computers, and leave their computers inside their bedrooms? If someone gained access to one of these computers and managed to take pictures or video of someone inside their bedrooms, you can only imagine the types of inimate images someone could acquire.

Just recently, I read a article that stated that the MedStar Hospital Network was impacted by ransomware. MedStar is a several billion dollar organization that operates multiple facilities throughout the Washington D.C. region.The thought of patient information not being accessible by the healthcare professionals that need it is a scary situation. Also, who knows if that personal patient data was exported and is now in the wrong hands.

Once a system is infected with ransomware, it can be difficult to remove. The best way to avoid getting infected with ransomware is to stay vigilant. It is always recommend that users and administrators have regular backups of mission critical information stored offline to limit the impact of data or system loss. It is also critical that systems stay up-to-date with their anti-virus software and latest patches. Avoid clicking on unsolicited web links in emails and opening email attachments.


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