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Suzie Fletcher (Police, Crime Prevention, FHQ)
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your computer and mobile devices or encrypts your electronic files, demanding a ransom payment through certain online payment methods (and by an established deadline) in order to regain control of your data. It can be downloaded through fake application updates or by visiting compromised websites. It can also be delivered as email attachments in spam or dropped/downloaded via other malware (i.e. a Trojan). It is a scam designed to generate huge profits for organised criminal groups. To prevent and minimise the effects of Ransomware, we advise you to take the following measures:
BROWSE AND DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE ONLY FROM TRUSTED WEBSITES.
Use official sources and reliable websites to keep your software patched with the latest security releases. Always use the official version of software.
DON’T INSTALL OR RUN NON-TRUSTED OR UNKNOWN SOFTWARE.
Do not install programs or applications on your computer if you do not know where they come from. Some pieces of malware install background programs that try to steal personal data.
DO NOT PAY OUT ANY MONEY.
Paying does not guarantee that your problem will be solved and that you will be able to access your files again. In addition, you will be supporting the cybercriminals’ business and the financing of their illegal activities.
DO USE ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE.
Install and keep anti-virus (AV) and firewall software updated on your devices. AV can help keep your computer free of the most common malware. Always check downloaded files with AV software. You can easily find many free options on the market.
DO REGULARLY BACK UP THE DATA STORED ON YOUR COMPUTER.
Full data backups will save you a lot of time and money when restoring your computer. Even if you are affected by Ransomware, you will still be able to access your personal files (pictures, contact lists, etc.) from another computer. There are a number of high quality data backup solutions available on the internet for free.
DO CONSULT YOUR ANTI-VIRUS PROVIDER ON HOW TO UNLOCK AND REMOVE THE INFECTION FROM THE DEVICE.
There are numerous official websites and blogs with instructions on how to safely remove this type of malware from your electronic devices. For example one such site is www.nomoreransom.org which is able to check whether you have been infected with one of the Ransomware variants for which there are decryption tools available free of charge.
REMEMBER always seek the advice of your IT Department/Engineers or speak to an IT expert before trying to resolve any problems.
General advice re Malware/Ransomware/Hacking/Data Breach/DDOS