A Ransomware infection is a program that ransoms the data or functionality of your computer until you perform an action. This action is typically to pay a ransom in the form of Bitcoins or another payment method. When a computer is infected with ransomware the effects can be either a nuisance or devastating depending on what the infection does. For example, many ransomware just lock you out of your computer, which can easily be fixed with the right tools. Other ransomware, such as Crypto Ransomware, are much more devastating as they will actually encrypt the data on your computer and require you to pay a ransom in order to decrypt your files.
Effects of a ransomware infection include:
- Make it so that you can not execute programs other than ones required to pay the ransom.
- Terminate any non-essential programs that may be running.
- Encrypt your data so that you can no longer access it or open it with programs.
- Remove your ability to browse the Internet other than to locations that will allow you to pay the ransom
Once you pay the requested ransom, the criminals may send you a code that you can input into the Ransomware program that then allows you to use your computer or decrypt your data. In some situations, though, even if you do pay the ransom, the criminals will just take your money and run, with you being left with your problem unresolved.
Though the loss of your data and computer can be devastating, sending the ransom could be even more so. Depending on how the criminals want you to pay the ransom could put you at risk for Identity Theft as the information you send may contain personal information. Therefore, we suggest that you never pay a ransom unless it is absolutely necessary for data recovery. For screenlockers you should never pay a ransom as there are always solutions to remove these infections without paying anything.
Last, but not least, it is important to remember that paying the ransom only continues to fuel the release of new variants of these types of programs.