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A new virus created by Russian hackers: how to defend yourself

For more than a year, a computer virus created by Russian hackers has been rocking the world, stealing data or even taking over your device. Usually, the victim has to pay a large ransom to regain control of their systems and the data stored on them.

Virus evolution with epidemic

Ransomware is a form of malware that hackers use to take control of a victim’s computer or network and then demand payment for decryption.

It is estimated that global ransomware attacks increased by 151% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in the previous year.

The NetWalker ransomware group has become very active during the COVID-19 pandemic, targeting hundreds of victims, including schools, municipalities, healthcare institutions, and businesses.

According to investigators in Canada and the United States, NetWalker, formerly known as “Mailto”, was created by a group of Russian-speaking hackers.

There were other types of ransomware gangs at the time, but NetWalker stood out for the ransomware-as-a-service model.

Its developers created the malware and its affiliates were recruited to use it to attack victims and demand a ransom paid in cryptocurrency.

How do you defend yourself?

First you need to make sure that all of your computer software is updated, including the operating system, browsers, and all toolbar plug-ins.

It is also necessary to check that the antivirus and spam protection has been updated to the latest version.

Red ransomware button on keyboard, 3D view

It is also advised to choose more secure passwords, perhaps change them more often, and to shut down computers when not in use to avoid possible intrusions when you cannot take useful measures to block them.

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Then there’s advanced security software to block known payloads: by payload we mean pop-ups and other screens redirected by hackers with a ransom demand to unlock the system. By blocking the possibility of such events occurring, the virus itself does not affect the computer.