Ransomware is surging in popularity today as a means for cyber criminals to make a significant amount of money. These viruses are installed on a computer inadvertently or secretly and they work by encrypting most of the files on the computer. Once the user is unable to access the files, the virus demands a ransom to provide the key to decrypt the files.
Paying the ransom is one option to get the files back again quickly and, in some cases like the Cryptolocker Ransomware, it might seem like the only option. This is because the ransom message has a time limit on it and, if the ransom isn’t paid in that time, the key will be deleted and it will be impossible for the files to be accessed again. This is done by writing over the files so if the key is not used, the files are no longer the ones the person wanted to access and no longer contain the information the person needed.
The downside to paying the ransom, besides the money spent, is that this is not guaranteed to work. The person might pay just to find out they need to pay more to obtain all of their files or they might never receive the key to unlock the files. Additionally, paying the ransom does not remove the ransomware from the computer, so the virus could just encrypt all of the files again in the future and demand another ransom.
Some of these viruses can be removed by tech-savvy people as long as they are careful and follow the directions they find online. However, this mainly works for older types of ransomware because more is known about how they work and how they can be defeated. Newer versions of ransomware do not have as much information posted about them yet and are often more complex, making it more difficult for even tech-savvy people to deal with. In these cases, it’s better to contact an expert to ensure the files are not lost forever.
If you have ransomware on your computer system, shut down the computer immediately to isolate the issue and avoid spreading the virus to other computers in your computer system. Then, contact an expert for ransomware recovery to ensure it’s removed properly and quickly, and to ensure you can access your files once again.