We are providing information on how ransomware extortionists gain access to consumer and business computers and how you can avoid becoming a victim.
Ensnareware is Malware including Ransomware which includes viruses, spyware, and other unwanted software that gets installed on your computer system, mobile device or network without your consent and is used to disrupt computer operations and gather sensitive information.
These programs will cause your device to crash, and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. They also can make your computer vulnerable to unwanted or inappropriate ads. Malware will be used to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.
►How To Avoid Malware
Cyber Criminals trick people into clicking on links that will download malware — often by bundling it with popular free downloads. To reduce your risk of downloading malware:
♦ Install and update security software, and use a firewall. Set your security software, internet browser, and operating system (like Windows or Mac OS X) to update automatically.
♦Don’t change your browser’s security settings. You can minimize “drive-by” or bundled downloads if you keep your browser’s default security settings.
♦Pay attention to your browser’s security warnings. Many browsers come with built-in security scanners that warn you before you visit an infected webpage or download a malicious file.
♦Instead of clicking on a link in an email, type the URL of a trusted site directly into your browser. Criminals send emails that appear to be from companies you know and trust. The links may look legitimate, but clicking on them could download malware or send you to a scam site.
♦Don’t open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is. Opening the wrong attachment — even if it seems to be from friends or family — can install malware on your computer.
♦Get well-known software directly from the source. Sites that offer lots of different browsers, PDF readers, and other popular software for free are more likely to include malware.
♦Read each screen when installing new software. If you don’t recognize a program, or are prompted to install additional “bundled” software, decline the additional program or exit the installation process.
♦Don’t click on popups or banner ads about your computer’s performance. Cyber Criminals insert unwanted software into banner ads that look legitimate, especially ads about your computer’s health. Avoid clicking on these ads if you don’t know the source.
♦Scan USBs and other external devices before using them. These devices can be infected with malware, especially if you use them in high traffic places, like photo printing stations or public computers.
♦Talk about safe computing. Tell your friends and family that some online actions can put the computer at risk: clicking on pop-ups, downloading “free” games or programs, opening chain emails, or posting personal information.
♦Back up your data regularly. Whether it’s your taxes, photos, or other documents that are important to you, back up any data that you’d want to keep in case your computer crashes.
Monitor your computer for unusual behavior.
Your computer may be infected with malware if it:
♦Slows down, crashes, or displays repeated error messages
♦Won’t shut down or restart
♦Serves a barrage of pop-ups
♦Serves inappropriate ads or ads that interfere with page content
♦Won’t let you remove unwanted software
♦Injects ads in places you typically wouldn’t see them
♦Displays web pages you didn’t intend to visit, or sends emails you didn’t write
►Other Warning Signs Of Malware Include:
♦New and unexpected toolbars or icons in your browser or on your desktop
♦Unexpected changes in your browser, like using a new default search engine or displaying new tabs you didn’t open
♦A sudden or repeated change in your computer’s internet home page
♦A laptop battery that drains more quickly than it should
►Get Rid Of Malware
If you suspect there is malware on your computer, take these steps:
♦Stop shopping, banking, and doing other online activities that involve user names, passwords, or other sensitive information.
♦Update your security software, and then scan your computer for viruses and spyware. Delete anything it identifies as a problem. You may have to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
♦Check your browser to see if it has tools to delete malware or reset the browser to its original settings.
►What Does Anti-Malware Software Do?
Anti-Malware software can identify and block many viruses before they can infect your computer. Once you install anti-malware software, it is important to keep it up to date.
Anti-Malware software scans your computer’s memory for certain patterns that may indicate the presence of malicious computer code. Anti-Malware software looks for patterns based on the signatures or definitions of known malware.
Once you have installed Anti-Malware software, you should scan your entire computer daily.
♦ Automatic scans – Most anti-virus software can be configured to automatically scan specific files or directories in real time and prompt you at set intervals to perform complete scans.
♦Manual scans – If your anti-virus software does not automatically scan new files, you should manually scan files and media you receive from an outside source before opening them.
►This Process Includes:
♦Saving and scanning email attachments or web downloads rather than opening them directly from the source.
♦Scanning media, including CDs and DVDs, for malware before opening files.
►How Will The Software Respond When Malware Is Found?
Sometimes the software will produce a dialog box alerting you that it has found malware and ask whether you want it to “clean”, remove the malware. In other cases, the software may attempt to remove the malware without asking you first. When you select an anti-malware package, familiarize yourself with its features so you know what to expect.
►Which Software Should You Use?
There are many vendors who produce anti-malware software, and deciding which one to choose can be confusing. Anti-malware software typically performs the same types of functions, so your decision may be driven by recommendations, particular features, availability, or price. Regardless of which package you choose, installing any anti-malware software will increase your level of protection.
►How To Get Current Malware Information?
Many anti-malware packages include an option to automatically receive updated malware definitions. Because new information is added frequently, it is a good idea to take advantage of this option.
While installing anti-virus software is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your computer, it has its limitations. Because it relies on signatures, anti-malware software can only detect malware that has known characteristics.
It is important to keep these signatures up-to-date. You will still be susceptible to malware that circulates before the anti-malware vendors add their signatures, so continue to take other safety precautions as well.
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