Ransomware has quickly become one of the most common cyber threats plaguing businesses’ information technology (IT) infrastructures. Statistics show, in fact, that ransomware accounts for roughly 15% of all cybersecurity-related insurance claims. While there are different types of ransomware, however, screen lockers are particularly common. If you run a small business, you should take precautions to protect your IT infrastructure from screen locker ransomware.

What Is Screen Locker Ransomware?

Screen locker ransomware is a form of malware that restricts login or file access while demanding payment to lift the restriction. It’s typically deployed at the operating system (OS) level, meaning you won’t be able to use an infected computer or device. When attempting to log in or power up the computer or device, screen locker ransomware will display a pop-up demanding payment.

With screen locker ransomware, you won’t be able to use the infected computer or device. It will serve a pop-up message whenever you attempt to log in to the OS. And unlike legitimate pop-ups, you won’t be able to close it.

Screen Locker vs Encryption Ransomware: What’s the Difference?

Another common type of ransomware is encryption. Like screen locker ransomware, encryption ransomware is designed to restrict login or file access in an effort to extort the victim into paying a ransom. The difference between screen locker ransomware and encryption ransomware lies in their method of operation.

Screen locker ransomware uses non-encrypting malware to lock the infected computer or device, whereas encryption ransomware uses encryption to lock the infected computer or device. With encryption ransomware, the data stored on your computer or device is scrambled using an encryption algorithm. The data is technically still present, but you won’t be able to read or access it.

Cleaning Up a Screen Locker Ransomware Infection

Because screen locker ransomware doesn’t use encryption, it’s typically easier to remove than its encryption counterpart. Depending on the type of screen locker ransomware, you may be able to remove it by booting your computer or device in safe mode, followed by running anti-virus software.

Whether you’re facing a screen locker ransomware or encryption ransomware infection, though, you shouldn’t resort to paying the ransom. Even if the pop-up message says you’ll regain access to your computer or device after making a payment, there’s no guarantee this will happen. On the contrary, many business owners who pay the ransom never regain access to their computer or device.

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