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The Relentless Rise of Ransomware (and How to Beat It)
By KeriLynn Engel,
Who Is Hosting This, 25 May 2015.

Picture this: You’re busy working on an important document on your computer.

Not only is this project important to your job, but it contains very sensitive information about the company and its customers. You’ve taken precautions to keep that data safe and protected.

But suddenly, in the middle of your work, a huge message pops up [shown in top image]:

“Your Computer Has Been Locked!”

No matter what key you press, or how many times you try to restart your computer, the same message keeps popping up. You can’t access the document you were working on or other important files - and you have no idea who has their hands on them now.

In order to get your files back, the message says, you have to pay a fine of hundreds of dollars…or lose them forever.

These messages often masquerade as official warnings from the FBI or other government agencies, accusing you of illegal activity on your computer. They can look very convincing, citing actual codes and laws and using official government seals.

But don’t be fooled: None of those messages are from any legitimate government.

In reality, they’re what’s known as “ransomware,” and they’re attempting to extort money from you illegally.

Ransomware, while not a new phenomenon by any means, is on the rise, threatening not just personal computers but also your smartphones, tablets, and any device that can connect to the Internet.

Many Internet users are fooled by these convincing messages, or pay the fine even if they see right through the scam because they don’t see any alternative methods to access their files and regain control of their computers.

While seeing a message like that may cause you to panic, don’t lose hope: there are ways to fight back. You can use various methods to remove ransomware infections, and learn how to protect yourself from ransomware going forward.

To get started, check out the graphic below for practical tips and advice on keeping your devices and data safe.

The Relentless Rise of Ransomware (and How to Beat It)

Infographic Sources:
Ransomware is a Growing Threat to Internet Users
2. New Site Recovers Files Locked by Cryptolocker Ransomware
3. All You Need To Know About Ransomware
4. Dr. Popp, the First Computer Virus, and the Purpose of Human Life: Studies in Crap Gapes At Popular Evolution
5. The Original Anti-Piracy Hack
6. Ransomware
7. How Does Malware Infect Your PC
8. Beware the Rise of Ransomware
9. Ransomware, the Newest Online Threat: What to Look for and How to Stay Safe
10. 11 Things You Can Do to Protect Against Ransomware, Including Cryptolocker
11. Ransomware on the Rise: Norton Tips on How to Prevent Getting Infected
12. Risk of Ransomware Infection Greater Than Ever
13. CryptoLocker Could Herald Rise Of More Sophisticated Ransomware
14. Swansea Police Pay $750 “Ransom” After Computer Virus Strikes
15. You’re About to Be Held to Online Ransom

Top image: Example of a typical ransomware message. Credit: Symantec.

[Source: Who Is Hosting This. Edited. Top image added.]