What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is an umbrella term for a group of viruses that holds valuable information hostage– either by encrypting your data so that it is unreadable or by totally locking you out of your computer.

Image result for ransomware

Where does the name come from?

Ransomware gets its name due to its general nature – it threatens harm by keeping your personal data captive, and demands a financial ransome in return. Unfortunately, once a computer has been infected with ransomware, there is little anyone– even the F.B.I. — can do to restore the files

Traits of Ransomware:

  • Encrypting files – your files will become inaccessible.
  • Taking your computer hostage – ransomware will often completely lock up you system.
  • Demanding a fee – hackers will taunt with promise of a decryption key once you pay them in untraceable Bitcoins.  
  • Disguising in phishing scams – the victim will unknowingly download a file through file sharing or an email.
  • Using social engineering – this will trick the user into allowing administrative access to the Ransomware.
  • Exploiting security holes – some sophisticated Ransomware can gain access without your input, beyond the initial infiltration.

Noteworthy Ransomware:

How do you get Ransomware?

  • Through an email file that contains a macro – this is a mini program that can perform automated tasks, such as connecting to a web server, downloading, and running unauthorized software.
  • Clicking on false pop-ups – pretend ransomware attempting trick the victim into paying and then downloading the real deal.
  • The KeRanger ransomware variant marked a turning point; it represents an expansion of ransomware to new platforms, including Mac computers— once a safe haven from ransomware attacks.

How to Avoid a Ransomware Infection:

  • Do inform yourself by researching what’s out there.
  • Do run a routine FixMeStick scan.
  • Do run your antivirus software while working on your device.
  • Do consistently update your operating system, antivirus software, and FixMeStick.
  • Do back up your files.
  • Don’t send unknown people money – even if you pay the fee, there is no guarantee you will get your files back. This also opens more traceable information to your bank account.
  • Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders or strange emails.
  • Don’t click on pop-ups.
  • Don’t visit suspicious websites.

Want to learn more about the different types of computer viruses? Check out other blogs in our Virus Lab series below!

What is Malware and Why Does it Exist?
What is a Virus?
What is a Worm?
What is Adware?

19 comments

  1. Marcus O'Sullivan - Reply

    I had my elderly computer (Windows XP) hijacked with a demand for ransom. I plugged in my FixMeStick and it re-booted and after the scan was finished, I was good to go again. (However I do still receive on a daily basis a message that Windows could not find a certain file with a menacing sounding name ending in dot exe I am so pleased to have the FixMeStick.)

    • FixMeStick - Reply

      Hi Marcus,

      We are so glad to hear the FixMeStick was able to help you through that! Hopefully this article let you know a little bit more about what we’re up against in terms of ransomware. Check out this week’s FixMeTip for information on how to back up those files– just in case.

      –The FixMeStick Team

    • FixMeStick - Reply

      Hi Mariano,

      FixMeStick will remove the randsomware trojan itself so it cannot encrypt any more of your photos or files (if it has already), but unfortunately you have limited options to get back your encrypted files. We have written an article on our support site regarding this type of malware (even though it is specific to cryptolocker) and what you can do:

      http://support.fixmestick.com/hc/en-us/articles/201009213-What-is-the-CryptoLocker-Ransomware-Virus-

      We, of course, do not recommend you pay the exorbitant fee that it prompts you to pay to decrypt your photos. Chances are they would not even give you the key. We recommend you try the steps at the bottom of the article to see if they work for you.

      Best,
      The FixMeStick Team

  2. Ron Martin - Reply

    I thought my files were being encrypted because they weren’t showing up in my folders so I ran Fix-Me-stick and now they show up. Thanks.
    Ron

  3. GEORGE KREIGH - Reply

    CAN I TRUST THIS FIX ME STICK? JUST GOT A COMPUTER, A TOSHIBA SATELLITE. A NICE COMPUTER. WILL THIS FIX ME STICK WORK WELL ON MY COMPUTER? WHY DONT YOU OFFER FREE SHIPPING ON THE FREE TRIAL TIME PERIOD? WILL THIS FIX ME STICK KEEP MY COMPUTER RUNNING CLEAN FOR YEARS?

    • FixMeStick - Reply

      Hey George!
      Yes, it will work on your computer! If you are having any trouble at all getting started, you can call our customer support for help! We don’t offer free shipping on the trial right now, because we have to have a way to cover the shipping costs. We hope the FixMeStick keeps your computer running smoothly!

  4. Dorothy DeWitt - Reply

    The first 2 times I used my FixMeStick, it worked very well, as far as I could tell. I am not very computer saavy, so I trusted the reports and fixed the problems. But, on the second time, I put the stick in the USB before I went to bed, so it could run over night. The next morning, I pulled the stick out and tried to get the reports, but it told me to either restart computer, or turn it off (I don’t remember which, and I obviously forgot how to remove the stick from the computer. I am 68 and very forgetful.). Anyhow, I turned the computer off, returned the stick to the USB, and turned the computer back on and removed the stick as per instructions. It went through the removal thingy and all was well, I thought. The next time I tried to use it, the computer would not even recognize that it was in the USB drive. Did I kill it, or is it one of the ones that you have to ok to run it for a year?

    I hope it needs your ok. 🙂 Well, I guess all I can do now is to wait until I hear from you. So, I will be waiting for word from you. Thank you so much. Take care and God Bless.

  5. Marie Nickol - Reply

    The FixMeStick is wonderful. I have a Toshiba laptop and over 2 years ago, I had some kind of bug on it and I could not get rid of it so I took it in to the shop where I purchased it for repair. It cost me over $180.00 and they could not fix it. I was about to give up on it when I saw the FixMeStick on QVC and decided it was worth ordering it for the last try to salvage my laptop. The first time I tried it, it got everything under control again and to this day it’s still working great. It even reminds me each month to not forget to use it. I love it!!!

    • Keegan Anfield - Reply

      Thanks so much for the note! It’s great to hear from customers like yourself!

      Thanks,
      Keegan

  6. doylene jackson - Reply

    Hi George,
    i am new to owning a computer and know very little about it . But I am learning. I fell for a scam and believe the scammers when they said my computer was i need of repair. I was given a number to call for more information.The place was so they s i said then Att microsoft. i call and so fast talking cons rattled of a bunch of things that need to be done i kept asking what it would cost after about 20 mins. the girl said 200.oo dollars . well , i refused to pay to repair what i believe they put on my computer and i have had nothing but trouble since. That is till i got the fix me stick i still can’t play a game i love to play and sometimes i can’t stay on line it says lost connection . but the fixme stick so far has made it easy to get back up and running.i still would love to play my game again but all in all i am so happy with how easy it is to run the stick

    • Keegan Anfield - Reply

      Hi! So great to hear that FixMeStick was able to help. If you’re still having issues with your game please send us an email at support@fixmestick.com and we’d be happy to have someone manually take a look for you.

      All the best,
      Keegan

    • Linda - Reply

      Hi William, your FixMeStick will not clash with other antivirus software such as Vipre.

    • Linda - Reply

      Hi Pearl, we recommend using the FixMeStick in partnership with an antivirus program. The FixMeStick does not provide ongoing protection; it is a tool that can be used to remove viruses that have already attacked the computer. Antivirus software such as McAfee can prevent viruses from getting on your computer, while the FixMeStick can scan and clear viruses that antivirus software can’t reach.

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