How to Know if You’ve Been Infected by Ransomware: 8 Signs

Ransomware attacks have become increasingly common in recent years, posing a significant threat to individuals and businesses. Detecting ransomware early is crucial to minimize the damage and prevent data loss. In this article, we will discuss eight signs that can help you identify whether ransomware has infected your computer. By recognizing these indicators, you can take prompt action to protect your data and mitigate the impact of an attack.

Where Does Ransomware Begin?

One of the most prevalent methods for initiating a ransomware attack is through phishing emails. Cybercriminals have developed social engineering tactics, disguising themselves as reputable companies, and including a harmful attachment or link. Once a recipient clicks on the attachment, it provides an entry point for the hackers, allowing them to move through the network undetected.

An effective solution to combat this issue is end user training. By educating employees on how to identify phishing scams, they can recognize and report suspicious emails, providing an early warning for potential attacks. With increased awareness and knowledge, organizations can reduce the risk of ransomware attacks and protect their valuable data.

8 Signs of Ransomware

1. Unexpected File Encryption:

One of the most tell-tale signs of a ransomware attack is the sudden encryption of files. When ransomware infects a system, it will typically scan for files to encrypt, and then it will encrypt them using a strong encryption algorithm. This process can happen quickly, and it may not be immediately apparent that the files have been encrypted. However, as soon as the encryption is complete, the files will become inaccessible.

2. Ransom Note

If you see a message on your computer asking for payment in exchange for unlocking your files, it is likely that your computer has been infected with ransomware. These messages can appear as a pop-up notification or a text document. It is important to note that encountering such a message means that your computer has been infiltrated and you should take immediate action to prevent further damage.

3. Unusual Network Activity

Ransomware may communicate with its command-and-control servers over the network to receive instructions or transmit data. Monitor your network traffic for any unusual or suspicious activity.

One way to monitor network traffic is to use an intrusion detection system (IDS) or intrusion prevention system (IPS), which can alert you to any suspicious activity such as connections to unknown IP addresses or a significant increase in data usage. Additionally, it is important to keep all software and operating systems up to date with the latest security patches, as attackers often exploit vulnerabilities in older versions of software to gain access to a network.

4. Slow System Performance

Ransomware can consume a significant amount of system resources, leading to a noticeable decrease in your computer’s performance. If your computer suddenly becomes slow or unresponsive, it could be a sign of ransomware infection.

5. Disabled Security Software

To avoid detection, ransomware often disables or bypasses security software installed on your computer. If you find that your antivirus or firewall has been turned off without your knowledge or consent, it could be an indication of a ransomware attack.

6. Changed File Extensions

Some ransomware variants change the file extensions of encrypted files to make them unrecognizable. For example, a file named “document.docx” may be renamed to “document.docx.locked.” Keep an eye out for any unusual file extensions on your system.

7. Missing or Altered Files

Ransomware may delete or modify files on your computer as part of its encryption process. If you notice that files have gone missing or have been altered without your authorization, it could be a sign of ransomware activity.

8. Unexpected System Reboots

In some cases, ransomware may force your computer to reboot without warning. If your computer does reboot randomly, especially repeatedly, contact your IT administrator right away. 

Get help from the experts

Unfortunately, it takes an average of 221 days for most organizations to identify ransomware, leaving them vulnerable to data loss, financial damage, and reputational harm. That’s why it’s crucial to have a trusted partner like BCS365 on your side.

At BCS365, our team of cybersecurity experts is dedicated to helping organizations like yours stay safe and secure in the face of evolving threats. From proactive monitoring and threat intelligence to incident response and disaster recovery, we offer a comprehensive range of services designed to protect your data, your customers, and your business.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to take action against ransomware and other cyber threats. Contact BCS365 today to learn more about our cybersecurity solutions and how we can help you stay one step ahead of the bad guys.