Although there are dozens of types of cyber threats, few are as harmful as ransomware. Defined as malware that locks a victim’s files while demanding payment, it can have devastating consequences. If one of your small business’s computers is infected with ransomware, you won’t be able to access some or all the files. At the same time, the ransomware will demand a payment. Today, we’re going to explore five common myths about ransomware that you shouldn’t believe.

#1) Paying the Ransom Will Unlock Your Files

Upon seeing a pop-up message demanding payment, you may feel compelled to pay the ransom to regain access to your locked files. After all, it’s easier to make a one-time payment than it is to try to remove the ransomware infection. The problem, however, is that paying the ransom doesn’t always work. The hacker behind the attack may simply leave the ransomware in place, or he or she may demand a second or third payment.

#2) Ransomware Attacks Are Becoming Less Common

This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. The number of ransomware attacks has increased with each passing year. According to a recent report published by Malwarebytes, there were nearly twice as many ransomware attacks in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the first quarter of 2018.

#3) All Forms of Ransomware Use Encryption

Not all forms of ransomware use encryption to lock a victim’s files. Some use conventional algorithms to scramble data so that it’s unreadable. Known as non-encrypting ransomware — for obvious reasons — it’s less-concerning than traditional ransomware. Without the use of encryption, it can often be removed or resolved using the right cybersecurity tools, such as anti-malware software.

#4) Only Large Companies Are Targeted With Ransomware

Contrary to popular belief, large companies aren’t the only victims of ransomware. Many attacks specifically target small- and medium-sized businesses. Smaller businesses such as these are perceived as “low-hanging fruit” by hackers. With their smaller size, hackers can infiltrate their systems and deploy ransomware with greater ease.

#5) Ransomware Only Affects Desktop Computers

Ransomware typically involves desktop computers, but that doesn’t mean mobile devices are safe from this all-too-common cyber threat. A report published by Symantec found that the number of mobile ransomware attacks increased by 33% in 2018. Mobile ransomware works the same as desktop ransomware, with both types locking files and demanding payment. However, mobile ransomware is designed to bypass the default cybersecurity features of mobile operating systems, making them highly effective at targeting smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

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