What is Ransomware & How Can You Protect Yourself Against It?

Ransomware has become a serious threat affecting people and businesses alike. This article explains what ransomware is and how you can protect yourself against it.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to restrict access to a computer or encrypt a user’s data until a ransom is paid. Your device can be infected through phishing emails, vulnerabilities in outdated installed software, or malicious downloads.

Once infected, ransomware encrypts your files and makes them inaccessible. The ransomware group then demands a ransom; if it is paid, the data is decrypted.

How Ransomware Works?

In detail, a ransomware attack typically follows these steps:

  • Infection: The user/victim unknowingly downloads and installs malicious software, often by downloading unknown email attachments or visiting compromised websites.
  • Encryption: The ransomware then encrypts essential files on the victim’s device (Can be any PC/Mac or a Smartphone/Tablet).
  • Ransom Demand: The attacker sends a message demanding payment, usually in cryptocurrency, to decrypt the files.
  • Decryption (or maybe not): If the ransom is paid, the attacker may or may not provide the decryption key.

Case Study Insights

According to ExpressVPN’s study, top ransomware groups often target organizations with critical data, increasing the chances that the victims will pay the ransom. The study highlights how sophisticated these attacks have become and the extensive damage they can cause.

Notable Ransomware Syndicates

Several high-profile ransomware syndicates have been particularly active:

  • Revil (Sodinokibi): Known for demanding hefty ransoms from high-profile companies.
  • DarkSide: Renowned for their attack on the Colonial Pipeline in the USA.
  • Conti: A group that offers ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) to other cybercriminals.
  • LockBit: Knows for its self-spreading capabilities and targeting big companies.
  • Maze: Invented the practice of stealing private data before encrypting it. They threaten the victim for leaking that data online if the ransom isn’t paid.

These groups work as organizations with proper customer support and offer detailed instructions for their victims on how to pay their ransom.

Protecting Yourself from Ransomware (05 Ways)

These are the ways you can Protect yourself from ransomware attacks:

  1. Regular Backups: Keep regular backups of your important files on an external hard drive or cloud storage. That ensures that you can wipe out all the data on your device, factory reset it, and then restore the backed-up data without paying any ransom.
  2. Update Software: Ensure all your apps and the operating system are up to date to patch any vulnerabilities.
  3. Use Security Software: Install a reliable antivirus and anti-malware software. These will detect and block ransomware before it can cause damage.
  4. Use a VPN: A VPN can add a layer of security by encrypting your internet connection, making it harder for attackers to intercept your data.
  5. Be Cautious with Emails: Avoid opening attachments or clicking on links in unknown emails by unknown senders.
    Note: Phishing emails are a common method for spreading ransomware.


Ransomware is a widespread threat nowadays, but with the right precautions and safety measures, you can significantly reduce your risk of becoming a victim. It is crucial to take regular backups, update software, add a reliable VPN to browse via a secure internet connection, and be vigilant against phishing attempts.

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Fahad Khan

Fahad is an Entrepreneur, SEO and SMM Specialist and an Affiliate Marketer. He also loves to blog about gadgets, technology, smartphones etc.

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