What is ransomware?
Ransomware is software used by criminals to encrypt your data, locking it behind a password and forcing individuals and businesses to pay if they want to regain access.
As businesses cannot function without their data and individuals don’t want to lose their important documents, pictures, etc… Tt has become a very common and unfortunately lucrative way to extort money out of people and businesses.
How to avoid ransomware?
Ransomware is spread the same way viruses and malware is often spread so the same security tips for staying safe online apply.
The simplest and best way of minimising the damage ransomware can do is having isolated, complete, working backups of all your important data. For an individual this might be copying important files to a USB hard drive that is disconnected from the computer occasionally. For businesses this would be having a robust (and tested) backup system that stores data that has reasonable separation from the main business system (so it doesn’t end up being encrypted along with all the other data).
What to do if affected by ransomware?
Contact your IT support immediately, you may also want to report the crime here and seek further assistance.
Avoid panicking and making any quick decisions, while ransomware often sets a timer to when your data will be deleted, you should first focus on notify the right people and thinking through any decisions you make carefully. If you have working backups restoring from them is generally the best course of action, but only if you’re sure your computer is secure and your IT has found out how the ransomware got on in the first place.
If you don’t have working backups go to No More Ransom for free assistance to help you try retrieve your data without paying the ransom. This service is supported by the Australian Federal Police and multiple global security companies worldwide.