Saving Your Computer From Ransomware Viruses

by ejwest - Date: 2010-09-21 - Word Count: 564 Share This!

As the world becomes more and more connected, computer viruses are as rampant and as destructive as ever. Who has the time and evil inclination to create programs whose sole purpose is to ruin the property of others is anybody's guess, but they are certainly out there. There was a time when it was figured that the user was pretty safe as long as they avoided any strange email attachments or downloads. However, this is really no longer the case. Just visiting the wrong site can lead to an infection. Some viruses have even managed to piggy back themselves onto legitimate software.

One type of computer virus that has become increasingly popular (or unpopular, depending on your perspective) over the past three or four years is ransomeware. Ransomware has existed since the late 1980s, but it has really become prevalent of late. This type of virus often disguises itself as anti-virus software, loads itself, and then pops up error messages dictating that there are numerous other viruses on your machine. The main problem is that those viruses do not exist and this software is the virus itself. If you follow the instructions, the ransomware will have you pay for a download of the full the program...which is usually nothing but a shell and will not even remove the original virus in the first place. They are called ransomware because of this attempt to extort cash from This can be a very annoying and confusing to users who may not be experienced enough with computers to recognize that this is a virus right off the bat.

Ransomware typically combines multiple aspects of some of the more common computer malware. First, they behave as a trojan horse by disguising themselves as legitimate software. They are not obviously a virus unless the user is already suspicious of this type of program. Second, ransomware behaves as a crypto-virus by often overwriting or restricting access to other files. It is not uncommon for this type of program to lock the user out of every executable file except for internet explorer/firefox where it can steer the user towards purchasing its product. Third, ransomware often exists as a worm as it usually has the ability to replicate itself and hide in the deepest corners of the hard drive. It is not uncommon for the user to think that they have removed the problem only to find that the virus has reinstalled itself the next time the computer is started. Finally, it is usually a cloaker - you rarely realize that you have downloaded anything at all until the virus chooses to make its presence known to you.

The best treatment for ransomware is a proven anti-malware program such as malwarebytes. The user may have to download this to a different computer, then transfer it to the infected machine due to the restricted access that the virus has inflicted. Also, make sure that the antivirus software is fully updated so that it includes the newest viruses that have been detected. It is necessary to destroy the entire virus in order to prevent it from coming back on the next reboot.

Ransomware viruses can ruin your day if not handled immediately and properly. Most are "curable" if the right steps are taken. If not, you may be looking for a data recovery company to pull out your un-infected data and transfer it to a new clean machine.

Related Tags: file recovery, data recovery, computer virus, ransomeware

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