What is ransomware and how does it affect me?

Ransomware is a type of software designed to block access to a computer system until a ransom is paid. Furthermore it can also grant the criminal access to your computer. However paying the ransom isn’t a guaranteed way of unlocking the blocked computer system or preventing your information from being leaked. Once a system is infected the best course of action is to restore the system from a backup. If a backup hasn’t been made then the system software will have to be reinstalled from scratch and all the data is lost.

There are a few ways cybercriminals can infect your computer system. They could attach the ransomware to an email in attempt to get the target to open the attachment. Another method is through the use of infected ads and websites. An infection using this method requires the target to visit the site or click on the ad which would automatically download the malware onto your computer.

Researchers have predicted that the use of ransomware is going to increase in 2017 as it is becoming more profitable.

How do I protect myself from it?

There are a few ways you can protect yourself from malware:

  • Don’t open suspicious emails
  • Don’t visit websites or click on ads that you haven’t heard of
  • Set your browser to ask for permission to run plugins
  • Remove outdated plugins
  • Regularly backup your computer systems on and off site
  • Install an antivirus we recommend Sophos