Ransomware is a type of malware that can infect your computer, locking you out of your files until you pay a ransom. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more common, with new ransomware variants popping up all the time. If you think you may be infected, it’s important to know what to look for so that you can get help quickly. Here are some of the most common signs of ransomware.

Ransomware Indicator #1: Slow Workstation or Network Activity

One of the first things you might notice if your workstation or network has been infected with ransomware is a decrease in performance. Things that normally take just a few seconds to load may start taking minutes, or even hours. This is because the malicious software is using up valuable resources as it encrypts files and demands a ransom. As a result, it’s important to keep an eye out for any sudden slowdown or inactivity, as this can be an indication that something is wrong.

Ransomware Indicator #2: Unexpected Pop-ups or Messages

Another common symptom of ransomware is unexpected pop-ups or messages demanding payment. In some cases, these messages may pretend to be from law enforcement agencies, warning that you’ve broken the law and must pay a fine. In other cases, they may simply tell you that your files have been encrypted and demand a ransom for the decryption key. Either way, these messages are a sure sign that you’ve been infected and should take immediate action.

Ransomware Indicator #3: File Names or Extensions Have Changed

If you try to open a file and find that the filename or extension has been changed, you’re likely dealing with ransomware. In most cases, the new filename or extension will be something random that doesn’t make any sense. For example, a .jpg file might become something like .pzt7jg3s. This is done to make it more difficult to open files, as most programs won’t recognize the new extension.

Ransomware Indicator #4: Strange Processes Running in Task Manager

If you open Task Manager and see strange processes running that you don’t recognize, they may be related to ransomware. In many cases, ransomware will use up valuable resources as it encrypts files, so you may see unusual CPU or memory usage. You may also see new processes running that you don’t recognize. 

Ransomware Indicator #5: You Can’t Access Important Files

One of the most obvious signs that you’ve been infected with ransomware is that you can’t access important files. This is because the malicious software has encrypted them, making them inaccessible. In some cases, you may be able to see the files, but you won’t be able to open them.  In other cases, the files may be completely hidden. If you can’t access important files, it’s a good idea to seek help from a professional as soon as possible.

Ransomware Indicator #6:  Backup Files Have Been Deleted

If you have a backup of your files, it may seem like the perfect way to recover from a ransomware attack. However, many ransomware programs are now programmed to delete backup files, making them useless. This is yet another reason why it’s so important to have multiple backups in different locations, as it increases the chances that you’ll be able to recover your files even if some of the backups are deleted.

Ransomware Indicator #7:  You Receive a Ransom Demand

Of course, the most obvious sign that you’re dealing with ransomware is that you receive a ransom demand. In most cases, this will come in the form of a pop-up message or an email. The message will usually contain instructions on how to pay the ransom, as well as a deadline for payment. It’s important to remember that paying the ransom does not guarantee that you will get your files back.  In fact, there have been many cases where people have paid the ransom but never received the decryption key. As a result, it’s often best to seek professional help rather than pay the ransom.

If you suspect that your computer or network has been infected with ransomware, it’s important to take immediate action. These seven signs can help you identify ransomware, so you can take steps to protect your files and avoid paying a ransom. Remember, the best way to protect yourself from ransomware is to have a strong backup strategy in place. That way, even if you are infected, you’ll be able to recover your files without having to pay a ransom.

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