Friday, April 20, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Hacking Your Computer with Ransomware

Hello and welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge--the special event for the whole month of April on the Focused on Story blog. I'm enjoying posting every day along with my hundreds of other fellow bloggers who are using the letters of the alphabet as prompts for each post. Today is letter R. Please visit more R posts by clicking the Master List of bloggers participating in this event at the end of this article.

Today, I am at my publisher's blog, BWL Publishing, with spring photos to help those of us who are still enduring wintry weather even if it is April 20! Click here to join me to experience a taste of spring if only through pictures. Thank you.

Malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom 
to access encrypted files,
Merriam Webster Dictionary

Malware is software designed to interfere 
with a computer's normal functioning
. Merriam Webster Dictionary

With ransomware, a hacker slips into a system, then puts encryption controls in place that locks users out. The hackers then demand money to "unlock" the data.—Elizabeth Millard

Ransomware is malware on steroids. According to a news report on abcNews, hackers use this powerful software to hold 9-1-1 centers and hospitals hostage. They are considered easy targets because they have to get their computers back up because lives depend on their service. These attacks are increasing in huge numbers within the last two years.

Small businesses and large, think Home Depot, cannot escape being victim to these thieves. Security technicians solve one problem, but genius hackers come up with a different way to get around the new security. I wish these criminals would use their brilliance for good instead of bad. Think how they could help society instead of causing so much misery.
Laptop computer
Ransomware savaged our laptop computer a few years ago, demanding us to purchase $300.00 in gift cards and send the hackers the codes for cashing them. (Nowadays many hackers require payment through Bitcoin, a digital method.). If we sent the code, they would unlock the computer. I have my doubts that would have happened. Fortunately, we were able to unlock the screen with the help of the computer company. They talked us through it.

Read this warning from –“Ransomware viruses are often introduced via email in an attachment that appears to be legitimate, like an invoice or e-fax. Sometimes a link will appear in the email urging the recipient to click. After the victim clicks on the attachment or link they are directed to a malicious website that infects their computer. The malware encrypts files on local drives, backup drives and any other computers on the network. A victim remains unaware until the ability to access data is noticed and messages surface demanding payment for a decryption key.

“Ransomware may also cleverly disguise itself as an urgent popup on a browser advising of a virus, system security risk that needs to be addressed immediately. The addition of the user's IP address and the logo of local law enforcement or the FBI gives the warning an air of authenticity. Other times, the warning tells the user that illegal activity or viewing sordid websites caused the machine to be infected."
Click here to read the entire article at Lenovo.

Many people screen their phone calls and don’t answer unless they recognize the phone number/person. Likewise, I think we need to be aware we should never click on emails from an unknown source or click on pop-ups. Use caution. Hackers may be hitting businesses, but they are also always on the prowl for an unsuspecting victim.

Have you or a friend/family experienced being hacked by ransomware intruders?  

Facebook users believe their files have been hacked when friends receive a message to be friends when they already are friends. Click here to learn what it is and what to do about it in an article on this blog.  

of all participants who signed up
for the #AtoZchallenge 2018.


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