How to Avoid Being a Victim of Ransomware
Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware. A user can inadvertently download it onto a computer by opening an e-mail attachment, clicking on an ad, or even visiting a website that is seeded with the malware.
Once the infection is present, the malware will lock up the computer. More menacing versions can encrypt files and folders on local drives, any attached drives, backup drives, and potentially other computers on the same network. Users discover they’ve been infected when they can no longer access their data or see computer messages advising them of the attack and making ransom demands
The best way to avoid being exposed to malware is to be a cautious and conscientious computer user. Malware distributors have gotten increasingly savvy, and computer users need to be ever more wary of e-mail links, e-mail attachments, online ads, and even some websites.
In addition, computer users should:
- Keep operating systems, software, and firmware current and up to date.
- Ensure antivirus and anti-malware solutions are set to automatically update and conduct regular scans.
- Back up data regularly with a secure backup system that is unconnected to the computers and networks is backing up.
Respond and Report
The FBI doesn’t support paying a ransom in response to a ransomware attack. If you are a victim of ransomware, go to a computer professional to remove the malware completely and report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, at ic3.gov. The IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and the National White-Collar Crime Center.