If you are not familiar with ‘ransomware’ then you probably haven’t been watching, reading, or for that matter breathing lately. It is the latest money making crime that is in the news almost daily now. I would list the name of the latest version that is out there in the article but by the time I publish this (30 minutes from now) there will be a new ‘latest’.
What is “ransomware”? Ransomware infects your computer and encrypts all of your data files. An image similar to the one above, will appear on your screen when you try and open a file. It will provide you with information on how to pay the criminals in Bitcoin to get the encryption key. There are other versions that encrypt your master boot record or the master file table but the general idea is the same. Typically, there is a time associated with how long they will let you wait before they delete the key and therefore render all of your data unrecoverable. They keep the cost at a rate they know you will pay and they deliver on their promise to decrypt once you do pay (it’s just ‘good business’).
Even though there are different types of ransomware how you become infected is basically the same; click on a link in an email. We have all gotten those emails, ‘phishing’ is what they are called, and let’s be honest we don’t really fall for the ‘$10 million dollars in a bank in Nigeria’ ones anymore. However, the phishing emails are getting better and some make you stop and think. So what’s the answer?
We have to make cybersecurity habit. How do we do that? EDUCATION! It truly is that simple. We need to educate all of our employees, family members, and “everybody else here not sitting on a cushion” (sorry Knights Tale quote…one of my favorite movies!). Much like we had health classes in school we need to have ‘cyber health’ classes and teach children at an early age about the responsibilities that come with having these powerful technologies at our finger tips.
We teach our children not to take a ride from a stranger from the time they are old enough to walk. It’s time we teach them not to trust the strangers on the web either.