What is ransomware? #
Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware). When it gets into your device, it makes your computer or its files unusable.
Cybercriminals use ransomware to deny you access to your files or devices. They then demand you pay them to get back your access.
How does it work?
Ransomware works by locking up or encrypting your files so that you can no longer use or access them. Sometimes it can even stop your devices from working.
Check out some examples of ransomware incidents
What to look for #
Ransomware can infect your devices in the same way as other malware or a virus. For example:
- visiting unsafe or suspicious websites
- opening emails or files from unknown sources
- clicking on malicious links in email or on social media.
Common signs you may be a victim of ransomware include:
- pop-up messages requesting funds or payment to unlock files.
- you cannot access your devices, or your login doesn’t work for unknown reasons.
- files request a password or a code to open or access them.
- files have moved or are not in their usual folders or locations.
- files have unusual file extensions, or their names or icons have changed to something strange.
If any of these things happen to you, check with your friends and colleagues first to see if they made any changes.
We recommend you do not pay the ransom. There is no guarantee paying the ransom will fix your devices. It can also make you vulnerable to future attacks. Instead, restore your files from backup and seek advice.
For this reason, it is vital to back up your data and put effective cyber security practices in place.