We talk a lot about different viruses and malware on PC Tech Guide. But, there is one particular strain of malware that is becoming increasingly troublesome. It is called ransomware. Simply put, ransomware is software that holds your PC hostage until you pay money to get your computer or files back. That is over simplifying it a bit, but that is what it is at its core.
Ransomware has been around for awhile, but it has been making major headlines recently with attacks like Cryptowall and Cryptolocker. This software basically preys on PC users who fail to secure their system with some type of protection. With these types of viruses there is a high probability of lost data or stolen data.
Ransomware is distributed through a few popular avenues. Typically it can be sent through infected links at suspect websites, distributed through spam email, or packaged in free software downloaded from less than legit websites.
The program works much like a ransom would work in the real world. You will receive some kind of threat or ransom note. This is typically with a wallpaper on your desktop or a popup indicating that your computer has been hijacked. It will include instructions for your payment. Most of the time the ransom not will be accusing you of something you did not do and it will look like it is coming from an official government agency like the FBI or NSA. It will accuse you of something like child porn or espionage. Others will be more blatant and just let you know that your files have been encrypted, and will demand money from you to get the files back in a usable state.
Some of the threats you get seem very real and can seem pretty frightening. They can threat jail time or stiff fines. But, they promise it can all be avoided if you just send a small fee to them. If you think about it, what law enforcement agency would warn you that you have committed a major crime, but will forgive you if you just send them a few hundred dollars?
The threat will also include a deadline of some sort. This is to give you a sense of urgency to feel compelled to heed the warning given to you. They will typically ask you to pay them using currency like Bitcoin, Ukash vouchers or some other form of electronic payment.
Manual removal of ransomware can be done, but it is much easier to use automated software. This is especially true if you are a novice PC user. We recommend SpyHunter for detecting and removing most types of ransomware. The free version will scan your PC and tell you about any kind of malware it finds. You can then decide if It is worth purchasing the full version if you have a great deal of infections.