Hard Drive Recovery Group touches on Ransomware and how to fight it, as well as the end of the long reign of Windows 7 in two new blog posts. The company continues to offer a weekly blog with the aim to entertain and educate in a realm that few people consider “groundbreakingly exciting”, namely: hard drives.

As computer viruses have begun to become less of a threat because of near universal anti-virus protection (including Microsoft’s Defender, which comes free with almost every edition of Windows 10), ransomware has become a new, dark threat that plays on the trust of users, tricking them into installing a virus on to their computers willingly.

“In many ways, ransomware is just like a basic virus, in that the user is tricked into downloading and installing an app they should not,” said Maureen Davies, spokesperson for Hard Drive Recovery Group. “The difference is where the trick is played – where viruses usually play on the idea that people will double click on files they assume are trusted, Ransomware actually tricks people into thinking something is wrong with their computer, and that an app is the only thing that can help them.”

While certainly some might say that this is indeed the business model of many software companies, what makes Ransomware truly evil is that in some cases it may all but disable the computer’s function. Then, the user is typically required to “pay a ransom” in order to have their computer restored.

“Sadly, although Firefox and Chrome have been rock solid when it comes to fighting scripts that will auto-install pieces of ransomware on computers, there are still rogue ads that can attack your computer,” said Davies. “The sad fact is that often these ransomware apps don’t even accomplish what they claim to be able to do – instead, they often simply disable themselves totally once a ransom is paid.”

While ransomware typically used to be the domain of consumers on their personal computers, recent ransomware has affected governments and cities, prompting CBS’ 60 Minutes to profile the issue. The post, Keep Your Computer Safe From Ransomware summarizes and discusses the key points of the piece. Hard Drive Recovery Group advises computer users to always think twice when a script or what even appears to be a Windows message demands that they install a new application.

“Nowadays, Windows typically handles its Update services behind the scenes, so it is extremely rare that you will receive a message that instructs you to install a new application,” said Davies. “When you break it down, the best way to avoid this stuff is simply to close out your browser, research the potential ransomware, and then move on.”

A second blog post, entitled Windows 7: Thanks For The Memories, outlines the fact that Microsoft has completely shut down support for the operating system, making it a high risk operating system that is no longer being maintained and supported.

“While Windows 7 was really the first operating system by Microsoft to be truly robust and majorly stable compared to earlier versions, it doesn’t have that huge of an audience compared to when, say, XP was replaced by Windows 7,” said Davies. “This is because during the Windows 10 release, Microsoft virtually gave the operating system for free to Windows 7 users, and only a small percentage did not take them up on that offer.”

Still, as time goes on, Windows 7 machines will become riskier and riskier to run, said Davies. Newer applications are already sometimes difficult to install and run on the OS, and viruses may not stand up to the older security modules in Windows 7.

“As with almost anything in computing, newer is usually better,” said Davies.

from Hard Drive Recovery Group