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What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that denies access to files or computer systems until a ransom is paid.

Ransomware can get onto your device in the same way as other malware or a virus, for example by:

  • visiting unsafe or suspicious websites

  • opening emails or files from someone you don't know

  • clicking on 'malicious' links in social media and peer-to-peer networks.

How do I recover from ransomware?

Never pay a ransom demanded by ransomware.

There's no guarantee paying will restore your files, and paying a ransom could make you vulnerable to further attacks. Report the infection and seek help from a cyber security expert.

Europol provides a page to help you unlock your system, called No More Ransom!

The UK National Cyber Security Centre provides a series of steps to help limit the impact of the infection.

How do I prevent ransomware?

  • Minimise visits to unknown websites and avoid being enticed by clickbait.

  • Look for the padlock symbol and 'https' in the browser address bar when surfing the net.

  • Install and regularly update antivirus and anti-ransomware software.

  • Install a firewall to stop traffic from untrustworthy sources getting onto your device.

  • Keep your operating system and software up to date with the latest versions; this should be done automatically where possible.

  • Back up your computers and phones regularly, and choose automatic back-ups where possible. Keep back-ups separate from your computer, on separate devices or use a cloud service.

  • Disable macros in Microsoft Office.

  • Have an incident response plan ready to dramatically reduce the damage inflicted, ensure a quick recovery and safeguard against future incidents.

  • Adopt multiple layers of defence against malware; no single mitigation will protect you. You can develop multiple strategies that will improve your resilience and detect malware without disrupting the day-to-day running of your organisation.

Stay ahead of the latest cyber threats. Sign up for Stay Smart Online alert, a free service to inform you of the latest cyber threats and how to manage them.

August 13th, 2018