Ransomware continues to plague internet users around the world. A recent iPhone ransomware scare reminded everyone that all internet-connected devices have some exposure and vulnerability to ransomware. Luckily, there are a number of ways to stay one step ahead of the malicious software; by doing so, you can protect your data and never worry about paying a ransom.
The Latest iPhone Ransomware Scare
The attackers in the latest iPhone ransomware case used high-pressure tactics in tandem with an unsophisticated attack to scare victims into paying a ransom. They found a way to prevent iPhone owners from using Safari by infinitely looping a pop-up. This effectively locked the iPhone screen on a message that demanded $125 in iTunes gift cards because of a supposed crime committed by the victim.
The result of this tactic was similar to a locker-style ransomware, but it was much easier to fix. By simply backing out of Safari and clearing the cache in Settings, users could regain the use of Safari.
Unfortunately, this solution may not have occurred to less tech-savvy users, and that’s when the high-pressure tactics come in. Like many locker-style strains of ransomware, this malicious message pretended that police were investigating the victim for some illicit crime (usually something related to pornography or pirating music). The con relies on scaring the victim into paying before thinking the situation through.
Of course, the FBI or Department of Justice would never lock your screen and demand an iTunes gift card, but the seriousness of the crimes and the use of law enforcement logos scare some victims into paying. Luckily, Apple quickly released an update that prevents anyone from exploiting pop-ups in Safari in this way again.
Living with Ransomware Without Stressing Out
Ransomware can strike any internet-connected device, so internet users must learn to live with the threat. However, with a little vigilance and common sense, you can easily steer clear of ransomware.
The malicious software generally gains footholds on devices in two ways. It can exploit unpatched vulnerabilities in apps and operating systems, or victims can inadvertently download it through infected attachments or links.
Always update your operating system and apps to quickly apply patches to vulnerabilities. Never download an attachment or follow a link that looks suspicious. Doing these two simple things will prevent the vast majority of ransomware attacks from infecting your computer or device.
Back up Files to Prevent Data Loss from Ransomware
The easiest step you can take to prevent data loss from ransomware is regularly backing up your files. Having current copies of your important files means that even if ransomware infects your computer, you don’t have to pay. You can simply wipe your computer and reinstall your files. Taking these minimal steps to protect yourself can pay off big in the long run.