Tech Deck | Holding You to Ransom – Rajmeet Singh

Reflections’ column on online safety, reviews of gadgets and applications, the latest tech developments, simplified explanations of technological concepts and happenings, and more!

Ransomware.

I think many of you would have understood what this term means, and for those who still don’t know: Ransomware is a form of malicious software that, once it has taken over your computer, threatens you with harm, usually by denying you access to your data. The attacker demands a ransom or a payment from the victim, promising — not always truthfully — to restore access to the data upon payment.

Petya and WannaCry are some of the biggest ransomware attacks, which did a huge damage to both time and money.

 

How does it Work?

The way a ransomware works is that it encrypts all the data in your PC, which can be unencrypted only by an encryption key. This key is not easy to get and hence, finding a fix for the ransomware isn’t easy even for a professional. These are spread by phishing attacks, spam or by an infected device. Many times these can spread to other devices on the same network.

 

Why make them?

The ransomware Petya and WannaCry were both made because a tool made by the NSA (National Security Agency) was leaked. It is because of this that such attacks were further distributed. Nowadays, Ransomware is either made to earn money from the ransom or to promote someone. Yes, you heard that right to promote someone. Ransomware is so common nowadays that people are promoting their goods and services for unlocking the user’s access to their data. Some of the examples are:

  • Gaming Ransomware: Sounds really cool but is still destructive. It forces you to play the game Player Unknown Battlegrounds also known as PUBG, otherwise, you will lose your files. The aim of the developer was not destruction but just to promote fun.

  • Dhinchak Pooja Ransomware: Well, if you are not a fan of this person (at least I am not!) then you are going to hate this ransomware. It will play every song ever made by Dhinchak Pooja until you pay the ransom. Well, to be honest, I would rather pay the ransom or smash my computer to bits than listen to Dhinchak Pooja.

 

What should I do if my PC gets infected?

Well, there are only two ways: either you go to a cybersecurity specialist or you pay the ransom. Unfortunately, there is no assured consequence of paying the ransom– the encryption key is not guaranteed.

For starters, to protect yourself you should ignore fake sites and untrusted devices. Always keep a recent backup of your PC. Remember, these threats aren’t going to disappear, they’ll only expand! The sooner you grow vigilant and take heed of this advice, the better.

 

 

By: Rajmeet Singh, Amity International School, Noida

 

 

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