Computer Security Day: experts urge protection against ransomware

If you needed a special day to remind you to regularly change your passwords and to protect your devices with a reliable security solution, you got it: November 30th is Computer Security Day. With the rise of ever more sophisticated threats such as ransomware, cybersecurity experts have to come up with innovative solutions to keep personal data safe.

Nowadays we store most or all of our sensitive personal data on electronic devices connected to the Internet, which makes them vulnerable to attacks. The AV-Test Institute says it registers over 390,000 new malicious programs every day.

One of the most dangerous types of malware on the rise today is known as ransomware. Even the FBI has at the start of the year issued a warning against this kind of program that can take over the files stored on your computer, restrict users’ access to them and ask for a sum of money in exchange for restoring things back to normal.

Certain kinds of ransomware block access to a computer posing as government law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, and demand the user should pay a fine in order to regain control over the PC.

But the most sophisticated ransomware encrypts precious files such as text documents, pictures and movies, and asks for a ransom to release the decryption key. The users are usually given a few days to make the payment. If they don’t comply, the files are destroyed.

“The advent of ransomware […] marked a turning point for the cyber-crime ecosystem,” according to Bitdefender, the world-leading cybersecurity innovator, maker of advanced security solutions for consumers and businesses. Bitdefender says ransomware “poses one of the most dangerous threats to both consumers and organizations.” Such malicious programs have “destroyed user files such as database backups, source code, documents and spreadsheets that can be priceless assets for companies.” Not only PCs, but Android users are targeted by ransomware, Bitdefender says.

The company is one of the first IT security makers that has released anti-ransomware tools, including a ‘CryptoWall vaccine’ that immunizes computers against one of the most notorious families of ransomware. Bitdefender’s security suite includes ransomware protection that is effective against all types of ransomware. Users can choose which files they wish to protect by placing them in a special zone that blocks encryption attempts from malicious programs.

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