Ransomware is malicious software that scrambles the data on a victim’s device and asks for payment before it will restore the data to its original state. The costs of unlocking data vary, with individuals typically paying a few hundred pounds and businesses a few thousand.
Below is what Ransomware may look like if it infects your device.
Watch: Cyber Sam's Top Tips for protecting against Ransomware.
TOP TIPS to Avoid Ransomware
- Only download software from reputable websites (look for HTTPS and the closed padlock within the address bar).
- Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.
- Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or text messages.
- Fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication.
- Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
- Create regular back-ups of your files to an external hard drive and/or online cloud-based system. It’s important that the device you back up to aren’t left in an insecure location or on the same network that your machines are connected too.
- Ransomware can also strike mobile devices. So follow this advice across your devices.
If you think you have been attacked by Ransomware;
- Disconnect it from the network, and seek professional assistance to clean the device (go to a local IT specialist).
- If you become a victim of Ransomware – contact Action Fraud online, or by calling 0300 123 2040.
- Businesses can find more advice about cyber security on the Warwickshire Business Watch website.