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What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to prevent or limit users from accessing their system, often by locking the system’s screen or by locking the user’s files unless a ransom is paid. More modern ransomware families categorized as “crypto-ransomware” encrypt certain files on infected systems and demand users pay a ransom through certain online payment methods to get a decrypt key. Typically the ransom price increases over time until the end of a countdown, when the files are destroyed.

How do I protect my computer?

Make sure your computer’s operating system is up to date with the latest security updates installed. In addition, don’t open suspicious emails, click on links you don’t know or open any files you weren’t expecting. Along with the user precautions above, we recommend antivirus programs running the latest security updates and maintaining regular data backups.

What should I do if my computer is infected?

First, isolate the infected computer from your network to try and stop it from spreading to other computers. Unmap any network drives or simply unplug the network cable from the computer. Next, assess the extent of what data has been impacted. If the compromised data isn’t critical patient data or business files, you can likely remove the virus or re-image the computer knowing that any data that was encrypted won’t be recovered.

Many experts say wiping your machine and restoring from backups is the best thing to do. If you don’t have regular backups in place, your options are very limited unfortunately. The remaining options aren’t recommended but might be able to save your compromised data. You can research to see if there are any known fixes that have successfully stopped the ransomware attack and proceed at your own risk. Last resort, pay the ransom. Note that paying the ransom does not guarantee you’ll get your data back, but it does sometimes work.

What are bitcoins? Why do hackers like them?

Hackers typically demand payment via bitcoins, an untraceable digital currency often used on shadowy parts of the internet. While bitcoins are hard to trace, the amount of money that’s been sent to someone via bitcoin does becomes public information.

The Final Verdict on Ransomware

We all know that computers are essential for storing and securing digital data. However, it should be your priority to take cyber security seriously and protect that data. Putting the right processes and technologies in place can give you a strong proactive approach against potential threats. If you have questions or concerns about your computer and network security, contact your SolutionStart account manager.

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