Ransomware on the rise in the Netherlands

Ransomware note (Picture: Twitter/@lmbrownlee1)Ransomware note (Picture: Twitter/@lmbrownlee1)

Ransomware, a form of malware that restricts access to infected computer systems and demands that a ransom be paid to the creators of the malware to remove the restriction, is on the rise in the Netherlands.

According to Data Recovery Nederland (DRN), the same number of customers have been infected with ransomware in the first quarter of this year than in the whole of 2014. The company has set up a special team to help victims of this malware to minimize the loss of data as much as possible. There is currently no effective remedy against ransomware.

The virus generally encrypts all files it can reach, so that the files can only be opened with a password. This means that the files are still on the computer but held "hostage". Victims are usually automatically directed to a website that explains that a ransom needs to be paid in order to decrypt the files.

A computer system can be infected by ransomware in a number of ways, Beveiliging Nieuws reports. One of the most common ways is through an email with the subject "outstanding invoice", the virus is downloaded with the attachment containing the "invoice". The virus may be hidden in download links or advertisements on sites.

DRN advises computer users to change their passwords on a regular basis and to make regular backups.