People living in Nigeria are familiar with the word ‘Kidnapping’ because it happens often in the country but what many do not know is ‘Computer or File Kidnapping’. Just like Niger Delta Militants who abduct their victims for ransom, there are internet file kidnappers. Our lives are as important as our computer files because it contains sensitive information that we depend on for survival. It is not out of place to take care of our computers the way we take good care of our natural bodies. What is Ransomware? It is a type of malicious software that blocks access to the victim’s computer data or threatens to publish or delete it until a ransom is paid. The virus also infects phones and mobile devices, so think safety all the time. May 12th 2017 saw the biggest ever cyber attack in Internet history by ‘WannaCry’ Ransomware . Millions of files were infected with big companies and individual files crippled by the attack. Ransomware has been a growing trend for the past two years. It encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.
Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that is disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading, or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. To be safe, always exercise caution when opening unsolicited emails or visiting websites you are unfamiliar with. Never download an app that hasn’t been verified by an official store, and read reviews before installing programs. Don’t visit unpopular pornography websites. Always backup your files to external drives or on Google drive. Victims of Ransomware attacks are advised to never pay the fee as it encourages attackers and may not result in files being recovered. There are some programs that can help decrypt files. Or, if you have a back up, you can restore your device from that. Remember to keep your antivirus software up to date with the latest version.