The Growing Threat Of "Ransomware"

Cyber Map

A common misconception about cyber attackers is that they need sophisticated technology to break into your computer. However, this is not true. The most common way to hack into our computers... is actually through you and me!  Through the growing use of "ransomware", cyber criminals try to get us to download malicious software that steals your data and then charges you money to get it back.  In this newsletter, we'll discuss a few pointers to prevent cyber criminals from getting into your work or home computer. 

What is "Ransomware"?

Ransomware is illegal software that gets onto your computer or smartphone, hides your data through encryption, and then demands you pay money to get it back.  Once they get a hold of your data (pictures, files, notes, personal information), it is lost.

How do I avoid becoming a victim of "Ransomware"?

  1. When in doubt, throw it out - Most Ransomware is distributed by emails or text messages.  If an email or text message looks suspicious, delete it... even if you think you know the source.  Follow up with a phone call to confirm it's legitimate.
  2. Stay with trusted websites - Only browse on trusted websites and DO NOT download suspicious files.  Be sure to avoid popup windows and "scareware" (fake online warnings that you have a virus and must click on a link to remove).
  3. Backup your data often - Be sure to save important data outside of your computer (e.g. network shared drive, Cloud, or USB drive).  If you get hit by Ransomware, these backups will be the only way to get back your data.