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Two birds, one stone, or in other words one malicious attempt
Believe it or not, my local news recently did a piece on ransomware, which to me seems like it's an epidemic if they did a piece.. My city is small, and the state I live in is small too. No idea why they would run a piece of that magnitude. Now if you don't know what ransomware is, then where have you been for the past couple of years? Ransomware has been around as long as computers has been around but it wasn't a very popular subject.
Ransomware is basically "malware", or a "virus" that locks and encrypts your files and the only way to get your files unlocked and decrypted is to pay the malicious creator. Now what does ransomware have to do with phishing?
Not much. But did you know you can get ransomware by phishing attempts? You probably knew that already. I am currently witnessing an increase in fake login pages for payment processors. I also noticed a lot of the times these phishing pages will try to get you to download an addon like a fake flashplayer or other addon. They say you need this addon to view the website, but in reality you're being both phished and about to get your files encrypted and locked. Very sneaky indeed.
A couple days ago, well almost a week ago I was almost phished by a website. Won't mention the name here for obvious reasons, and because I already forgot what it was. However, I wanted to buy an item and I was redirected to pay via Paypal, but it wasn't Paypal. The site looked like paypal exactly, but the website URL was totally NOT paypal. I always check to make sure that I am on a legitimate payment processing site, bank site or any other site that does business with money due to phishing attempts.
This one site was good, however it said that my flashplayer was out of date, and that it needed to be updated to "click here to update flashplayer before continuing". So, what did I do? I downloaded "flashplayer" in a sandbox. This way whatever that program was wouldn't hurt my computer, and I could delete it. The flashplayer was ransomware. I was totally shocked. You think large companies, hospitals or other organizations with lots of money get ransomware, and not just some internet browser.. oh no.. wrong!
Please be very careful next time you purchase something. Always look at the website URL to make sure the site you're paying on is 100% legitimate. If you think even for a minute that something may be off, don't complete the payment. And do not download anything if you ever go to pay and what you're buying is not a downloadable service.
Ways to protect against ransomware and other malicious attacks:
1. Keep your operating system up-to-date, and your browser extensions such as flashplayer
2. Download an anti-virus program (there are many for free, i personally wouldn't use one that came with the computer itself unless it was Avast)
4. If paying via payment processor, double check to make sure it's the real website you went to pay for goods and services with.