What are ransomware, and how can I prevent myself from them?

Security breaches and data leaks are growing each day. From individuals to organizations, no one is safe from a cyberattack. With each passing day, software developers are trying to introduce more robust software that will restrict these data leak issues throughout the world and secure internet users.

But despite them trying to come up with the best software, hackers, spies, and cybercriminals are also evolving their hacking techniques to make them better each day. Over time, hackers are getting stronger, and the data breach scenario is getting worse. This is exactly why websites like VPNRanks put strong emphasis on protecting your online privacy at all costs.

There are three famously known malicious software (malware) that commonly breach user data and information. This malware includes viruses, spyware, and ransomware. They are the most common ones that enter into a personal or an office computer and attack it, causing many data and information leaks.

  1. Viruses:

The first and the most common type of malware is a virus. Viruses are the only types of malware that can infect other files too. A virus can also infect any other device that it connects to. For example, if you have a virus present in your computer and connect a USB to it, technically, the virus will shift into the USB and infect it.

When the virus-containing USB is connected to another computer, the virus tends to infect that device too. It’s called a virus because it works exactly like a disease-containing virus. It comes into contact with another device and infects it along the way.

ransomware 1

Viruses can quickly get into your device through the internet too. When you download a corrupted file from the internet, it’s bound to infect your device.

Viruses are the oldest type of malware that has been around for decades. Many strong antiviruses are now present that prevent devices from getting infected.

  1. Spyware:

Spyware is unwanted malware that enters your computing device with the motive to spy and steal your data. This malware is designed to spy on your device and collect all data like usernames and passwords of accounts, sensitive information, bank details, credit card information, etc.

This malware aims to track all data and information of a user and to sell it to either third party websites or use it to steal your identity from you. This malware monitors all your internet activity, including your search habits, accounts, and all the information you enter.

This malware is not limited to a personal computer. If it enters a corporate device, Spyware can steal masses of data and sell it for its advantage. This can lead to a vast data breach case.

ransomware 2

  1. Ransomware:

Ransomware is one unique type of malware that encrypts a user file of data for monetary incentives. It enters into a computer and displays a message instead of opening the file demanding some fee in return for the information that it has encrypted.

This is one of the most popular money-making schemes of hackers and cybercriminals. It can enter your computer through easy ways like finding a link in your email or downloading a phishing link from any website.

Ransomware attacks saw a sharp spike and increased by 60% in the year 2020 as compared to 2019. The files in a ransomware attack are stored under the best encryption, making it difficult for users to crack them open in any way. This way, the only method for them to recover these files is to pay the fee.

How can I prevent ransomware from entering my computer?

You can avoid ransomware through the following ways:

1.   Avoid clicking links that look fishy:

The first way to prevent ransomware from infecting your device is by avoiding links that look incredibly fishy. If someone sends over a link to you through email, you might want to open it out of curiosity. But don’t. There is a high chance that the link is infected or contains ransomware.

Similarly, avoid downloading any software or even a harmless pdf file from a website you haven’t used before. Many malicious websites contain links and files like these to enter into a user’s device. Therefore, refrain from clicking anything that looks even slightly suspicious.

2. Download an effective antivirus/antimalware:

In a world where data breaches have become very common, download an efficient antivirus on your device. There are many antiviruses available, free and paid, that protect users’ devices from any virus.

Antiviruses run frequent scans onto your computer to protect it against viruses and cybercriminals. They also monitor the threat and inform users of suspicious activities on their devices.

An effective antivirus is compatible with all major devices, including Android and iOS platforms, Windows, Mac, and more.

3. Connect your device to a VPN while using a public wi-fi:

Another effective way to prevent a cyberattack is using a VPN on public wi-fi. You are always slightly more vulnerable to all threats and malware when using public wi-fi.

To prevent this, you should use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN works as a tunnel and provides users with complete encryption on all activities. It masks your identity and keeps you anonymous so you can enjoy the public wi-fi without any worries.

VPNs alter your IP address and prevent it from reaching any website or the Internet Service Provider (ISP). This restricts websites from storing your cookies as the information provided to them is severely distorted, thanks to the VPN service.

4. Do not use unfamiliar USBs on your device:

Do not connect any external device on your computer that is new or unfamiliar to you. External devices are one of the easiest ways to get your computer infected. To prevent this, never connect any USB that isn’t yours to your computer unless you trust it.

Also, always have an antivirus in your computer in case you connect a USB. The antivirus present on your device will immediately detect the virus and inform you.


With newer viruses and malware over the internet infecting and attacking computers, mobiles, and other devices and stealing a user’s personal information, credit card information, password, usernames, and further details, ransomware is yet another malware that is unique in its way. To prevent your device from getting attacked by ransomware, you should use the methods mentioned above to avoid it.