Foiling Ransomware: Preventing Your PC from Being Taken Hostage

Keyboard locked in a chain.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software used to block access to your computer system.  While your computer is being held captive, you are unable to access windows, your files, and your apps.  It encrypts your files and holds your computer system hostage until a “ransom” is paid.  In the past, attackers demanded a couple hundred dollars, but now the payoffs can be upwards of $20,000! Even after a sum of money is paid, there is no guarantee that the encryption (malware) will be removed. You can be exposed to this type of malware through suspicious emails, links, downloads, pop-ups, and other content from unsafe senders or websites.

Why is it a problem?

Not only can it cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars to remove the virus encryption, but it is a HUGE security threat.  The malware can steal any and all information on your computer.

How do I protect myself?

  1. Know how to identify it:
    Ransomware looks like an email, an internet download, or a PDF.  You can get it from visiting unsafe websites, or clicking unsafe links from social media, emails, or pop-ups.  One good tell-tale sign is numerous grammatical or spelling errors throughout the content.
  1. Don’t click on just anything:
    Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between a trusted sender and an unreliable one. If you don’t know who the sender is, the best policy is to not open the email or attachment. Resist the click.
  1. Invest in reliable anti-virus software:
    At Paladin, we offer a managed anti-virus service, including defense against ransomware. We keep your software up-to-date and make sure everything is running smoothly for optimal security. For more information, call our managed services specialist, CJ June at 1-800-725-2346. Ext. 7002.

Ransomware infographic

By Samantha Waters

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