It’s no secret that both real and fake ransomware attacks have been on the increase. From small companies to major corporations to governmental agencies to non-profits, no one is immune from the danger.
No matter who you are or where you work, you should be taking proactive steps to protect yourself from this hazard. From scanning your devices regularly to making daily backups, there are things you can do to keep your information safe and out of the hands of hackers.
Another thing you can do is learn the signs of a fake ransomware attack. As the threat of real ransomware increases, so too are the fakers, and watching out for these warning signs could save you a lot of time, trouble, and money.
- You can open all your files. The most obvious sign that the ransomware warning is a fake is that your files are still accessible. Real ransomware attacks lock your files behind a wall of encryption, with the promise to restore them after payment has been made. If you can still open your files, you can be reasonably sure the threat is a fake.
- The device is operating normally. Encrypting a computer full of files takes time and resources, and you should see a marked slowdown in performance. If your computer or other device is operating normally, the threat is probably a scam.
- A full scan reveals nothing. If you are told you have a ransomware infection, you should immediately conduct a full scan of your computer or mobile device. If your scan reveals nothing and your device is running normally, you are likely dealing with fake ransomware.
- The hacker claims to know your secrets but cannot reveal any specifics. Fake ransomware scammers will try to scare their victims into paying up by claiming to know all their online secrets. When pressed, however, those scammers are unable to name any relevant details.
- High-pressure tactics. The creators of real ransomware attacks operate as actual businesses, complete with help desks and customer service agents. If the person you are talking to engages in high-pressure tactics and refuses to negotiate, you are likely dealing with a fake.
- They claim the clock is ticking. The hackers behind ransomware attacks are not really interested in deleting or encrypting all your files. What they really want is money. Claims that the clock is ticking and that your files will be gone by a certain date are hallmarks of fake phone ransomware attacks.
- You see a pop-up on your screen. Many ransomware scams begin with pop-up ads on your computer, complete with a phone number to call and a case to reference. While you should still proceed with caution, notices of this nature are most often scams designed to scare.
- The alert comes via email. Anyone can send an email, and scammers know that scary subject lines are more likely to get your attention. Real ransomware attacks rarely originate via email, so send the offending message to the trash and do a deep scan of your device.
- The entity making the threat refuses to identify themselves. Ransomware has become a business, and a lucrative one at that. The perpetrators of real ransomware attacks are surprisingly professional, willingly identifying themselves and providing contact information. If the person on the other end of the call or email refuses to identify themselves, you can be reasonably certain it is all a scam.
Being hit with a real ransomware attack is scary, disconcerting, and potentially expensive, but fake ransomware threats are another thing altogether. If you know the warning signs, you can shut these scammers down quickly. Then you can get on with your work without worrying about your files.
Need help? Contact AccSys Solutions. We are happy to assist any way we can!