Ransomware is a malicious virus used by cyber criminals to hold your files hostage. The criminals encrypt your hard drive and ask for payment for you to get access to your computer.
Here are some ways to guard against Ransomware attacks:
1. Make sure you have good anti-virus software installed on your computer.
2. Keep your most important data backed up so that should you suffer such an attack your downside risk is lowered.
3. Do not open email or attachments from people you do not know.
4. Do not download apps without thoroughly researching their origin.
If you are a victim of a ransomware attack:
1. Disconnect your computer from the Internet.
2. Restore your computer to the factory installed version, and then download your backed up data and programs.
3. Contact law enforcement. Both the FBI and the FTC can be of help to you.
Should you pay the ransom? That is a personal decision. If you don’t have good back-ups, it may be your only option. However, once you agree to the ransom, the criminals may know you have not backed up your data and demand more money. Further, you will be the target of many other scams.
Your best defense is a good offense. Use good virus protection software, and backup your data.