Logging in to your computer one morning, it opens to a screen claiming the computer is locked and your files encrypted. It presents you with the option to recover your files, at an incredibly steep price. When you attempt to access one of your latest files, you see some gibberish text. Again you try to open another file, only to see the same message. The fearful realization dawns that your computer is well and truly locked. Sadly, this scenario isn’t fiction, nor an urban internet legend. What you are seeing is Ransomware, malicious software designed to block any access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
That said, we’ve listed several critical do’s and don’ts when dealing with a recent ransomware infection.
The Do’s and Don’ts
Do: Figure out what type of ransomware your computer is infected with. This knowledge will help you decide what the reasonable procedure will be to remove the virus from your computer’s system.
Don’t: Pay the ransom. Not only is there no guarantee that your files will return after payment, but paying cybercriminals only encourages the act of holding files and data for ransom. Not paying the ransom will help to discourage criminals from viewing ransomware as a profitable means of extorting money from users.
Do: Disconnect from the internet and unplug any external devices and hardware connected to your PC. Ransomware can spread to your local network, as well as any devices connected to the infected computer depending on the type of ransomware your computer has.
Don’t: Panic. Ransomware viruses oftentimes leave behind messages with threats that files will be deleted, or sensitive data leaked if the ransom is not paid within a specified time frame.
Do: Take a photograph of any ransom notes left on your computer. This is recommended, especially if you plan to file a police report on the attack. It is important to keep documentation of any ransomware attack.
Don’t: Believe everything you see. Computers that appear infected, actually may not be infected at all. Designed to look like ransomware, Scareware fools the user into paying a ransom. Some types of viruses may pose as the FBI or IRS and create a notice stating that you must pay a fine to unlock your computer.
There are steps that are to be taken when getting rid of ransomware from your computer’s system. It is important to know the right procedures and who to contact for help. It is important to gain as much information as you can about the ransomware that is infecting your computer. If your computer has recently been infected and you need help, call a nerd today at #TechStarters! We are here to ensure that your computer will be safe and ransomware free.