Ransomware can be a very costly and stressful experience, especially if you don’t have backups of your important files. Ransomware is a type of malware that can encrypt your files and hold them hostage until you pay a ransom to the attacker. There are many ways that ransomware can infect your device, such as through phishing emails, malicious websites, and infected advertising.
3 Ways Ransomware Can Infect Your Device
Attackers will send out mass phishing emails that look like they’re from a legitimate source, such as a bank or a government agency. The email will usually contain a link or an attachment that, when clicked, will install the ransomware on your device. Be very careful about clicking links in emails, even if they look legitimate.
These websites may look identical to a legitimate website, but they’re actually fake. When you visit the website and enter your login information, the attackers will then have access to your account and can install ransomware on your device.
Attackers will create fake ads that contain malware. When you click on the ad, the malware will install itself on your device and encrypt your files.
What To Do if Your Device is Infected with Ransomware
Ransomware can be a very costly and stressful experience, especially if you don’t have backups of your important files. If your device is infected with ransomware, follow these immediate actions:
- Do not pay the ransom. There is no guarantee that you will get your files back even if you do pay.
- Disconnect from the internet and power down your device.
- Contact a professional who can help you remove the ransomware and restore any files that may have been encrypted. There are a few different ways to remove ransomware, but the most effective is to use a specialized removal tool.
- Once the ransomware has been removed, you should change all of your passwords and run a full scan of your device to make sure no other malicious software has been installed.
- Report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IC3 will review your report and refer it to the appropriate federal, state, local and international agencies if necessary
Prevent Future Ransomware Attacks
Have a Backup Plan
One of the best ways to protect yourself is to have a backup plan for your important files. That way, if you do become a victim of ransomware, you will be able to restore your files from a backup and avoid paying the ransom. Some things to consider when creating a backup plan are:
- What files you need to back up. Consider things like music, photos or documents.
- How frequently you need to back up. This could be daily, monthly or quarterly depending on how often you create and change files.
- Where to save your backup. Offline storage, such as an external hard drive, is best.
- Where to store your backup. Some ransomware searches your system for backups so it’s important to store your backups offline. This means unplugging the external hard drive. Consider storing the external harddrive in a locked, fireproof safe.
Keep Your Software Up to Date
Another way to protect yourself from ransomware is to keep your software up to date. Attackers often take advantage of software vulnerabilities to install ransomware on your device. By keeping your software up to date, you can patch these vulnerabilities and make it more difficult for attackers to infect your device.
Use a Firewall
A firewall can help protect your device by blocking incoming connections from malicious websites and advertising. This can prevent attackers from being able to install ransomware on your device.
Use an Antivirus Program
An antivirus program can help protect your device by scanning files and URLs for malware. If it detects anything malicious, it will block the file or website and prevent it from infecting your device.
Be Careful What You Click
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from ransomware is to be careful about what you click. This includes email attachments, links, ads and downloads. If you’re not sure if something is safe, don’t click it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Ransomware can be devastating to your finances and important files, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. By having a backup plan, keeping your software up to date and being careful about what you click, you can help prevent ransomware attacks.