How to Rescue Your PC from Ransomware
When computers were the size of a building, the biggest threats to the machine were actual insects and rodents. They could chew on wires and clog up vital components. As the processor sizes shrank, the number of threats grew.
Since the turn of the century, the arms race of virus vs anti-virus software has resulted in billions of dollars spent. Few viruses feel as personal as ransomware. Because of its particular nature, removing ransomware is an extra challenge.
Unlike other viruses, which need to be silent to do their job, ransomware needs to be loud. And to be loud, it needs to lock you out, which is what makes removing it difficult.
Read on to learn more about dealing with this troublesome malware.
Rapidly Removing Ransomware
Check out the link if you are curious about the history and development of ransomware.
Many viruses are more annoying than devastating. Programs like a worm, which moves through slowly collecting what it needs, or a rabbit, which duplicates quickly take resources but don’t do lasting damage.
Ransomware hits quickly with a big stick. It has to hold something for ransom for its particular brand of extortion to work. This makes removal difficult because the hostages tend to get lost in the exchange.
Better screening systems and consumer awareness have led to ransomware attacks falling by 400 million since their heyday in 2016. They still remain a threat to small businesses and individual users.
The non-encrypting kinds of ransomware are easier to defeat. These can be removed using regular malware removal or antivirus tools.
You won’t be able to access your OS for lock-screens but can in the case of scareware. Either way, it’s best to boot from an antivirus thumb drive. Run the program through safe mode by selecting the ‘repair your computer’ option and the system will automatically find and remove these pests.
Programs like Bitdefender and Malwarebytes do wonders for keeping these programs from taking root. Run one of these before you reboot or shutdown your machine to remove programs before they lock you out.
Encrypting ransomware is a different story. These programs work by encrypting a chunk of your files or file structure. Even removing the program can leave the files encrypted, effectively making you lose them.
Frequent (weekly) backups are a good way to have some defense against this kind of loss. It also helps to move vital files to a cloud or a backup server.
Some encrypting programs only make files and file trees hidden. This can be remedied by a search for hidden attributed files in your user profile and removing the hidden attribute.
If the files have been truly encrypted, you are in trouble. Paying the ransom is both not a good idea, and no guarantee you will be given a decryption key.
If you don’t have backups, you can use Window’s System Restore to look for Shadow Volume Copies. These are cached files the computer uses when rewriting data. A program like Shadow Explorer can help you pull these up if they exist.
Remember to Learn More
Knowing how to avoid becoming the target of ransomware is as important as removing ransomware.
Keep yourself updated on this and other tech topics by coming back here. Remember, we’ve always got something new to peruse.