Ransomware is a type of malicious computer software that seeks to threaten PC users and earn the money from that. Typically, ransomware-type viruses block the system or files that are installed on it. In addition, they ask the victim to pay a ransom in order to unblock the system or restore blocked information. They are spread with the help of trojans, so the most of them are installed on the system without user's consent.
A typical behavior of ransomware parasites involves locking computer's screen with fake warning message, encrypting files containing important or vital data, deleting user sensitive information, corrupting the system or installed software, stealing confidential documents and personal information, etc.
Once inside the system, ransomware runs a scan. It either looks for important files or tries to find illegal files on victim's computer. Once they are detected, a virus locks the computer down and starts displaying a huge warning message that looks like it belongs to some governmental authority. In this case, victim is informed that there are illegal files that were detected after scan on his/hers computer. In addition, user is asked to pay a fine in order to avoid getting into jail. If computer is infected with crypto-ransomware, victim is simply informed about the encryption of his/hers important files and asked to pay the ransom in order to restore lost data. If the user pays the ransom, virus stops blocking the system. If that's a crypto-ransomware, he or she receives certain passwords, codes and special instructions for restoring the information on the system.
The most of ransomware parasites are able to propagate themselves and infect their target PC systems without users' knowledge. Others must be installed manually as any other software. There are two major ways how these parasites can get into your computer.
1. The most of ransomware parasites are spread with the help of trojans. Trojan.Lockscreen is the mostly used threat for installing ransomwares on the system. They get into the system without user's knowledge as they tend to arrive in files attached to e-mail messages that present themselves as messages from reputable parties, such as Amazon, ebay, financial institutions, etc. Once user is tricked into downloading such attachment to computer, the trojan, which is related to ransomware, is also installed on it.
2. Another part of ransomware pests are distributed by fake pop-up notifications that can be seen either on illegal or on legitimate websites. Mostly, they are set to report about missing updates but they can also "inform" you about a need to scan the system for free and remove viruses from it. These ads are usually filed with unsuspicious names and legitimate logos, so they can trick even the most experienced PC user into clicking them.
At the moment of writing, ransomwares are set to infect computers running Windows operating system, Mac OS X, Android and other operating systems.
- Ransomware viruses are capable of encrypting sensitive user's data, such as business documents, videos, photos and other files. Once they do so, they start asking a ransom for decrypting encrypted files.
- Once inside they system, such virus can also try to delete predetermined documents, multimedia objects or any other files containing important information. It can also try to delete essential system components or important parts of other software.
- Ransomwares can be used fro stealing login names, passwords, valuable personal documents, identity data and other user sensitive information. This data is sent through a background Internet connection to a remote host.
- When infected with ransomware, you can notice system freezes that can make it almost unusable. Such threats can also degrade overall system performance, decrease its speed, etc.
- Ransomwares and crypto-ransomwares can rapidly terminate active antivirus, anti-spyware and other security-related software by blocking its processes and disabling essential system services.
- Or course, you won't find uninstall feature when infected with ransomware. Besides, such threats also try to hide their own processes, files and other objects in order to complicate their removal as much as possible.
There are two different types of Ransomware parasites. The following examples will illustrate both of them.
Cryptolocker is a malicious ransomware, which keeps important victim's files encrypted until he/she pays the ransom. Once executed, this parasite checks the system and blocks predetermined files. Typically, it looks for business documents, images, video files and other files that could scare the victim after discovering that these files can't be opened. In addition, it shows a message threatening the user that these files will be lost forever. Of course, Cryptolocker gives a chance to recover these files by paying a ransom, which varies from $100 to $400. There is no guarantee that after the user transfers the money, he or she receives a specific number, which allows to decrypt encrypted files.
FBI virus is another typical ransomware. However, it doesn't block the files. Instead of that, it blocks the entire PC system and then starts showing a fake warning message. Typically, this message claims that user was noticed for his or hers illegal activity on the Internet. You can be informed about illegal visiting of pornographic websites and similar activities. In addition, the parasite claims that victim can be sent to jail and that the only way to avoid it is to pay a ransom. After paying it, FBI virus stops blocking the system. However, it doesn't mean that there are no malicious files on it anymore.
Typical ransomware parasites are very dangerous. Although they usually do not self-replicate, such threats can make lots of problems on your computer. They can make your vital information inaccessible, they can steal your valuable data and destroy the entire system. It is highly recommended NOT to pay ransom, which is asked by this threat because that doesn't help to remove the parasite and restore affected information.
In case of the ransomware infection, do not pay the ransom! Also, do not believe messages stating that you are dealing with governmental authorities because it's not true. Usually, such statements are displayed just for pushing people into paying ransoms. Ransomware makers use simple ways to make your data inaccessible. Fortunately, the most of antivirus and anti-spyware software can easily find ransomware files on the system and remove each of them. Here are some powerful anti-spyware solutions that will help you to remove ransomware from the system: SpyHunter, STOPzilla, Malwarebytes Anti Malware.