Ransomware is a form of malware that allows cybercriminals to hold your PC, or files on it, for ransom. This is typically much worse than your average spyware or spam, as the crooks behind the ransomware can ask for a great deal of money.
Social media sites provide the perfect ingredients for these crooks’ malware recipe since they provide such a large number of potential victims to target. We’re here with some tips to help you avoid being a ransomware statistic.
Last year, around 70 percent of social media scams were shared manually by people amongst their friends and contacts.* It’s easy to see why: People are more likely to click on a link or download software if it’s recommended by someone they know.
Here’s how it often goes down: You see a new post from your friend Emily. It says, “Check this out! It’s sooooo funny!” Emily’s always one with a quick-witted joke, so naturally you click on the link. Maybe it opens an email attachment or takes you to a site. Once you take action, malware secretly downloads onto your device.
Later, you may turn on your PC or mobile device to see a screen demanding payment to have your files unlocked. This could take the form of a fake law enforcement notice, which is meant to scare you into forking over the funds immediately.
Good grief! You didn’t know you had stepped outside the law. What do you do?
First off, you aren’t breaking any laws; the thieves behind this scam are.
That message from your social media pal likely didn’t originate from her. It was likely spoofed (meaning, it only looks like it’s coming from Person X). Reaching out to your friend—without replying via the message in question—is one way to find out.
Keep in mind, your friend may have sent the message, but cybercriminals may be using social engineering to get people to do their dirty work for them.
Let’s say you are careful but you, or a friend, still gets a ransomware notice. What then? Do not, under any circumstances, pay the “fine.” Law enforcement would never send a notice like the scenario mentioned above, and even if you would send the funds, there’s really no incentive for the bad guys to unlock your files or device. They’ve made their money; what would they care?
It’s fun to see and share cat videos and memes on social media, but keep in mind that these sites are also a haven for cybercriminals and scams like ransomware. Play it safe and help keep the bad guys out of your life. Start putting these tips into action today.
Article Source: norton.com
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