The shear size and scope of victims now realizing they are being held hostage by ransomware attacker REvil is mind boggling. This is that moment that American and western businesses thought they were protected but missed the most basic security barrier allowing a systemwide compromise.
Now the infamous criminal ransomware enterprise known as REvil is demanding $70 million after claiming they’ve hacked and infected 40,000 computers. Cybersecurity firm that was used in the ongoing attack says the number of victims is closer to 1,500 total.
We’re not stupid. Ransomware hackers just got smarter.
Today’s ransomware hackers are amongst the most convincing criminals we have ever encountered. Our mistaken mindset is one of the biggest weaknesses. “It can’t happen to me?” and “I don’t fall for scams” no longer apply.
Hackers are more gifted at disrupting lives and manipulating people just like you and me through more convincing techniques that include investments in AI software to identify you as their next target. Their criminal scam is so well thought out before an attack that they have mastered the act of turning us into fools.
How ransomware hackers are tricking us
Knowing how some of the latest ransomware scams work will help you avoid falling victim. We’re learning everyday the techniques that are more and more intimate, making us think we should interact to a malicious text, email and social media post.
Learn to Spot These Malicious Emails
- When you look closely at the sender’s email address, it’s not exactly correct.
- Something about the tone is slightly off. At first glance it may seem right, but take a beat longer with a skeptical eye, and you see something not as expected.
- Hover over a link or email address without clicking to see if it looks off. Such as added characters or numbers.
- Links in the email may show a misspelled or strange web address. Such as “TrustedSiteName-02920423.com”
- Most companies do not ever send email asking for credentials.
- When you encounter a call-to-action link or button, let that raise a red flag. It means someone could be phishing for personal information to compromise your security.
- If you should ever get an email like this, never click on any links. If you want to double check, again, don’t click on any links in the email but instead, open up a new browser and type in the company web address and log into your account. If the email you just received is true, the information should be reflected in your account. Odds are, the email you just received is malicious and you should mark it as “junk” or delete it.
What to Do If You Think You May Have Clicked on a Malicious Link
Use trusted anti-virus security software or apps to scan your device for a previous attack. Malware can be placed on your device unknowingly. Hackers spend day and night thinking of ways to trick you.
Best Anti-Virus Software and Apps to Protect Against Malware
Bitdefender Total Security
MacOS, Windows, iOS and Android device protection
Annual or monthly subscription currently $40 at the time of publishing for first year with software for up to 5 devices (slightly more for 10 devices) that include MacOS, iOS, Windows and Android. This seems to be the best solution for a family like mine with multiple devices from the list of their endless sometimes confusing Bitdefender offerings that shouldn’t steer you away.
Bitdefender is strong while being user friendly and easy to use. It’s great at protecting many evils beginning with anti-virus security that recognizes malware, ransomware, viruses and other threats like spam. What I really like is the real-time data protection to battle malware automatically with their antivirus solution that does not slowdown anything you are doing. AI improvements can identify suspicious threats on your network and block an attack fast.
Bitdefender’s Rescue Mode can clean-up threats to keep your devices safe. It has a lot of bells and whistles that I like especially the file shredder that takes deleting to a whole new level of destruction of sensitive personal info you want to erase for good. Bitdefender is popular with its users and available at multiple online stores but I find the best pricing is here directly from Bitdefender by cutting out the middleman.
Norton’s Antivirus security products offer one of the most comprehensive protections. From a password manager, dark web personal data monitoring, identity theft, parental controls, VPN and malware detection, Norton has everything you would ever need. Of their nine products, I like the Norton 360 Deluxe and Norton 360 with Lifelock Select the most. On the downside, Norton does not offer file encryption, file shredding, or secure web browser but still surpasses the rest with its commitment to maintaining a strong level of protection.
Panda Security Antivirus from the company that has been around for 30 years is outstanding. I’ve toured their headquarters and threat center in Spain and understand their level of protection first hand. They are out front with their smart technology monitoring everything with an outstanding track record of detecting attacks before they cause extensive damage. Panda has a very good grasp of using AI for your security based on behavior intelligence and real-time threat analysis. I recommend the Panda Complete as a starting point. However if you are looking for a VPN which would provide secure, private and unlimited Internet browsing, I would recommend their Premium product.
McAfee Internet Security total protection starts as low as $29.99 (for 2 years) while protecting a lot of different devices for a low cost. They did a really good job with their password manager and the malware protection already at the top of the game keeps getting better and better. For moms or dads, the lack of parental controls on the middle level products are a disappointment, but not enough to knock it out of the top 3 best security tools.
No matter what protection you decide to use, awareness is half the battle. Keep second and third guessing every suspicious sense you feel in your gut when engaged in technology, reading email and texts.
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- Don’t make this one mistake when getting rid of your old phone
- Working from Home? How Your Boss May Be Watching You
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