Today’s cybercriminal has come up with a creative away to steal your information and get your money – ransomware. While there are many different types of ransomware, they all operate by preventing you from using your computer or accessing your files until the demanded ransom is met. In addition to targeting individual computers, ransomware can also target business file servers, government databases, and healthcare services. There is no guarantee that paying the ransom will result in your files being unlocked, which can make being confronted by ransomware even scarier.
Ransomware often ends up on computers after users visit a website that’s been hacked and infected. The software automatically downloads and installs itself on your computer. It then begins encrypting your files to prevent access. Some types of ransomware also lock your ability to use programs such as internet browsers to prevent you from accessing information and cloud storage.
Preventing ransomware from getting on your computer in the first place is your best option. Start by installing antivirus software, keeping it up-to-date, and make sure it runs in the background scanning every file that comes to your computer. You can also be a pro-active user by avoiding sites commonly known to carry viruses, being suspicious of sites that use lots of pop-ups, and not clicking on links or attachments that you weren’t expecting.
If the files on your computer are valuable to you or mission-critical to your business, you should implement a regular backup schedule. Files some get backed up in multiple locations and at different frequencies. You can back up in the cloud or onto a server or hard drive of your own (or both!). This is generally a good practice and can save you grief not only if you’re confronted with ransomware, but also as your computer goes through general wear and tear and eventually breaks down.
Finding your computer or server is infected with ransomware can be frustrating, but first assess your options to see if you can clean the software and restore your files from a backup. This is certainly the least expensive and problematic option. Depending on the type of software and your computer’s operating system, there may be other recovery options available. An IT professional can assess the damage and help you recover some or all of your files. They can also help you implement automatic backups to prevent issues in the future.
If you’ve already paid to recover your data, reach out to your bank and credit card processor to try and block the transaction. Local authorities also like to be informed as they track scam statistics and can provide you a police report to use when reporting the issue to your bank. While this may not get your data back, it can help you recover what you’ve paid.
Still concerned about ransomware and want to know more about your options? Contact the attorneys at Virtus Law Firm. We can explain your rights and advise you on how to proceed in the event of an issue. Call 612.888.1000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to schedule a consultation.