Google describes Ransomware as a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. These kinds of threats are not going to go away and new strains are being written all the time.
The only way to regain access to the encrypted data is to pay a ransom to the hackers – and even then it is not guaranteed that you will get your data files back. After all, you are dealing with a criminal! There is very little that any IT expert can do to get your files back. Once encrypted, your data cannot be recovered.
The only way to mitigate the risk is to ensure that you regularly take backups so that you can quickly return to a pre-infected state.
6 Tips to Staying Safe from Ransomware
- Backup your data regularly. If you choose to back up to an external hard drive, disconnect the backup device as soon as the backup is complete. This will prevent any potential infection from being passed along to your backup device.
- Ensure that your machine is patched to the latest version and that your antivirus software is up to date.
- Do not click on links in emails from unfamiliar sources
- Do not open unidentified attachments (pdf’s, etc)
- Don’t download “free offers” on websites or follow links to win prizes, etc. Hackers are successful because they bank on you wanting what they offer as an enticement.
- Become more vigilant. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
What to do if you suspect that your machine is infected with Ransomware
- Don’t try to open any files or folders on the machine.
- Don’t try to fix the problem yourself.
- Immediately switch off your computer and take to IT
More About Ransomware
- What is ransomware? https://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/mmpc/shared/ransomware.aspx
- How does malware get on my PC? http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/mmpc/help/infection.aspx
- Tips on how to avoid ransomware http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=142842