Ransomware is malicious software that prevents someone from accessing their computer files or system unless they pay the ransom. This attack can be used against anyone, including individuals, small businesses, and large organizations.
A ransomware attack usually starts with a pop-up message or background that appears as a text file.
To get your files back, the attacker will demand you pay a ransom.
Ransomware can infect your computer the same way malware or viruses do, for example, by using a phishing campaign which is an email scam.
While there are steps that you can take to recover from ransomware attacks, the best thing is to learn how to prevent them.
- Update your operating system and apps whenever new versions become available. This can be set up with Windows or other applications such as Office to automatically occur.
- You should back up all your files frequently. This applies to all files on your computer, phone, and other devices. You can:
- Back up your data to an external hard drive. Back up your data to an external hard disk and then delete the hard drive.
- Create a backup cloud to Dropbox or another similar online hosting service.
- You should install anti-ransomware and antivirus software on your computer. Keep it updated regularly.
- Do not enable macros in Microsoft Office
Ransomware can cause serious damage to your computer.
- You can restore your system from the most recent backup.
- If you do not have a backup of your operating system, you can reinstall it. However, this could cause all your files to be deleted.
- Report it to CERT NZ, either via our online reporting tool at www.cert.govt.NZ/report, or our contact center 0800 CERT NZ.
- If you have any questions, contact your IT support representative or a local computer service company. They can:
- You can check to make sure you don’t have ransomware. Scammers may claim that ransomware was installed to trick you into paying them.
- If they are unable to remove the malware, you can restore your computer to factory settings. This may also allow you to rebuild your computer.
- Discuss security with you to help protect yourself for the future.
- For your security, install security protection.
Ransom payments are not recommended by CERT NZ because you don’t know if your data will be returned. You could be subject to further attacks if you pay ransoms. An attacker could see that you are willing to pay them and target you again.