Aspect IT: Ransomware is on the rise

60x40Aspect IT offers IT support, cloud services, website design, software development and more. Find out more on their website.

By Peter Dorotiak, Director of Aspect IT

WE HAVE seen an increase in ransomware and virus attacks recently, not only to small businesses but also to home computer users.

So, we wanted to provide some background information and advice.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malicious software that is inadvertently installed onto your computer or mobile phone. Once installed, it restricts the use of your computer and encrypts your data so it cannot be used. A ransom demand is then sent to you.

How do computers get infected?

Ransomware infects your PC in the same way a normal virus would. The most common two methods are by either opening infected attachments in emails or by visiting a website that is either malicious or has also been compromised.

How can I protect myself?

Firstly, adequate anti-virus should be used. But rather than just have one software product, use a layered approach. Utilise different suppliers and technologies like anti-virus, firewalls, and anti-spyware.

Secondly, keep your software up-to-date. New ransomware and viruses are constantly being developed by hackers. You need to keep your anti-virus software and operating system up-to-date to get the latest protection.

Thirdly, keep backups. If you do get infected, you can access your backups and not worry about losing data. But remember to keep backups on a different computer or online.

Fourthly, be vigilant. It sounds simple, but always be on the lookout for suspicious emails and websites. So many people inadvertently open an infected email or click on a link without even thinking.

I’m infected, should I pay?

This is the big question. A typical ransomware demand is between £200 and £400, so it isn’t cheap. There is also no guarantee the criminals will actually decrypt your files or they may ask you for even more money.

This is a decision only you can make. But it would be better if you’re not faced with this question, so take precautions today.

 

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