For most people, the thought of their valuables being held ransom is something that they’ve only ever seen on TV. But with ransomware, it’s becoming increasingly easy for cybercriminals to gain access to and hold the things you care about most ransom.
Ransomware is a word that has been popping up in the news a lot lately. But what is it? Ransomware is a kind of computer virus that infects your system and locks up your important files, leaving you unable to access them. These files could be anything from family photos to important documents. The virus learns which files you need the most and blocks them off accordingly. Shutting you out of your most important files can effectively cripple you in the right situation.
Once your sensitive data has been locked up, the ransomware will display a message telling you that you have to pay the person who made the virus to regain access to your data. The worst part is that after all that, you aren’t guaranteed they’ll even give you access back. Because of this, ransomware is an incredibly scary prospect to anyone who has sensitive data stored on their devices.
This summer alone, there have been two massive worldwide ransomware attacks affecting both personal computers and business systems, rendering entire corporations helpless for stretches of time. This growing style of virus is gaining traction among hackers because it works. Often when a person or company has their files locked , they don’t have any recourse but to pay the fine specified. When you think about the size of the companies affected, like Maersk — one of the largest shipping company in the world — it can be easy to be afraid.
Where does ransomware come from? Primarily, it comes from either one of two places. Like traditional viruses, if you go to the wrong places online, clicking on and downloading things from unverified sources, you run the risk of infection. But many kinds of ransomware are also able to infect entire networks. That means all it takes is one infected computer at an office or company for the virus to easily distribute itself into every computer on the network.
Another common cause of ransomware is from identity thieves who take data off of discarded hard drives for their own ends. While some discarded hard drives might only contain an account or two, some corporate hard drives contain thousands of customer information entries. These hard drives aren’t just from computers, either.
Hard drives from phones, tablets, or any electronic device is vulnerable to being exploited. When these devices aren’t disposed of properly, it can put a great deal of customer information in jeopardy. Thieves are crafty, and they frequently sell or distribute the information they find in discarded drives online to take advantage of at their leisure. That means if you aren’t disposing of your devices properly, you’re risking your online safety.
Don’t click on links from unknown emails. Email is one of the most common ways to spread ransomware. The easiest way to give away your email address is through improperly disposed documentation. When you throw out old hard drives or paperwork, it can give thieves the ability to either access your accounts directly or send ransomware to them. That can create a direct pipeline for ransomware to be loaded on your computer. The best way to prevent this is to properly destroy your sensitive information with a professional shredding company like A Shred Ahead.
A Shred Ahead is committed to being your partner in destroying sensitive information either for personal use or for business. With our wide selection of document destruction tools you can rest assured that your information is safe from thieves. After you contact us for your document disposal needs, we’ll get in touch with you to set up a plan for fulfilling your individual needs.
No matter if you want to do a one-time document purge or if you want to set up a recurring scheduled document destruction, we can accommodate your need. Once our shredding specialist arrives, they’ll shred your documents in a specialized shredding truck for immediate, secure, on-site disposal.
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