Held Hostage: Study Finds that 64% of Adults Don’t Know About Ransomware

man in chains

Do you know what ransomware is? According to the User Risk Report by Wombat Security, 64% of working adults do not. The study, which was created to see how end-user actions affect device, data, and system security, surveyed 6,000 adults in the UK, the US, Australia, Germany, France, and Italy. It tested the participants on their knowledge of ransomware, phishing scams, Wi-Fi security, password management, and social media use.

While only 36% of those surveyed knew what ransomware was, 67% of respondents knew what phishing scams were and how they worked. As a whole, around 68% understood what malware was. These results are troubling since it shows a marked lack of understanding and awareness of cybersecurity habits among the participants of the survey.

What is Ransomware?

If you are among those who aren’t aware of ransomware, don’t fret. According to cmitsolutions.com, ransomware is a type of malware that holds your data hostage in exchange for money. If you don’t pay via cryptocurrency or credit card, your data may either be published or corrupted. There are three kinds of ransomware:

  • Scareware – This type of ransomware includes rogue security software and tech support scams and aims to scare its victims into paying the ransom without actually putting their data in harm’s way.
  • Screen lockers – When you get this type of ransomware on your computer, you get locked out of your system. You won’t be able to get to your files without paying the ransom.
  • Encrypting ransomware – With this kind of ransomware, cybercriminals will get some of your files and encrypt them. They will demand payment in exchange for decrypting and returning your data.

How to Spot Ransomware

Ransomware is very sneaky and may get into your system through a download or a website. Luckily, there are ways to spot ransomware before it encrypts your files. If these signs show up while you’re using your computer, there may be ransomware in your system. Watch out for ransomware if:

  • There are unknown file extensions on some of your downloads.
  • Your computer suddenly becomes very slow.
  • CPU and Memory usage skyrockets.
  • There is an increase in file renames on your network file shares.
  • Your system randomly announces that files are ready to be burned on a disk.

When your computer is infected with ransomware, it is vital that you do not pay or contact the parties associated with the attack. It doesn’t matter what data they have stolen—you cannot guarantee that they will return the files even if you pay.

Protect Yourself from Ransomware

Ransomware is hard to remove. What is more important is that you protect yourself before this malware can infect your system. Fortunately, the experts have detailed some ways that you can protect yourself and your files:

  • Back up your data
  • Keep your software up-to-date
  • Run regular security scans
  • Employ monitoring solutions
  • Get secure anti-virus programs
  • Never click any link or download attachments from suspicious emails

Prevention is better than cure. If you follow these safety procedures, then you can save yourself from the stress of having your data encrypted.

You’re now part of the 34% of people who know about ransomware. Hopefully, you can take this information to strengthen your cybersecurity habits.