What is Ransomware?

22 12 2015

Ransomware is one of the more dangerous types of malware. It can be downloaded from a compromised website or received as an email with a link or attachment. Once executed it can lock the computer or encrypt the files (documents, spreadsheets, PDF’s & pictures) on your computer and pop-up a message saying to recover your files you need to pay a ransom through some type of online payment method.

If your files have been encrypted, you are in trouble. Usually it is not possible to unlock the files because the decryption key is stored on the cybercriminal’s server. You could pay the ransom. I DO NOT recommend doing this. It does not guarantee that the criminal will unlock your files. The other option is to restore from a backup. This is one reason you should be backing up your important files regularly.

The first step in preventing ransomware from hitting you is to be cautious browsing online. Don’t open unexpected email attachments and be cautious when clicking on a suspicious web page or link. Installing a free browser extension like Web of Trust (www.mywot.com) will help you determine which websites you can trust when doing internet searches.

Add an extra layer of protection by keeping your computer Operating System up-to-date with the latest Security patches using Microsoft Updates and have anti-virus software installed and up-to-date to help protect from the latest viruses and malware.

Backup important files regularly either with an online service or to a local backup device. When using local backup devices, keep at least three backup copies of your data, each on a different media (hard drive, flash drive, etc.) and the third at an offsite location.

Andy 2013

Submitted by Andy Koetter, RBSK IT Consultant


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3 01 2016
Jordan Jones

Many thanks for your excellent report, your experience will be useful to me!

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