What is Ransomware? A Family Safety Guide

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February 11, 2018

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Table of Contents

Most ransomware is disguised as a valid file to be downloaded or opened in an email. So, what is ransomware? Ransomware is a type of malicious software that holds your personal digital data for ransom. Those affected by ransomware cannot gain access to their personal data without paying a fine.

What is Ransomware?

  • You’re probably thinking... “No one wants to get into my computer, I have nothing to steal, I’m not rich or famous”
  • However, you have 100-2,000 friends in your email contacts who might trust you, and ransomware can email them (on your behalf) to infect their computer
  • Typically, people whose data has been seized by ransomware are threatened to have their data leaked or are blocked from accessing their data
  • Most ransomware is disguised as a valid file to be downloaded or opened in an email

Why should you care?

  • Once ransomware has been launched there is little you can do unless you have a backup or security software in place already
  • If you pay to get your data back, there is no guarantee that you will gain access to your data

What to do if you become a ransomware victim

  • Do not pay the ransom fine
  • If you think you may have ransomware running on your device, disconnect it from the internet immediately to prevent it from spreading
  • Try using a decryption tool from Kaspersky Lab and Macafee to recover your data

How to prevent becoming a victim of ransomware

According to Kaspersky Lab and Macafee these are the steps you should take to protect your kids:

  • Backup your computer so that if someone takes your data ransom they can delete it and you still have access to it
  • Keep your software up to date (Windows, Mac, Android and iOS)
  • Use antivirus software
  • Never trust links or downloads from anyone you don’t know
  • Buy an external hard drive and back it up once a month then disconnect it once the backup is complete so ransomware can’t access your data

What backup software should I use?

The best antivirus software for Macs & PCs

How to protect grandparents from risky links/emails

  • Teach them to never open or download/click links in emails from people they don’t know
  • Offer to setup a backup system for their computer
  • Remind them to regularly update their operating system software
  • Get them on Gmail/Google apps if possible

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