Approximately a 3 minute read
- Ransomware is malicious software that can infect and encrypt files and folders on your computer and other devices, preventing you from opening them.
- Educational institutions and health care organizations are among the main targets.
- There are easy ways to ensure your cyber health when you browse the Internet or check email.
Ransomware is malicious software that can infect and encrypt files and folders on your computer and other devices, preventing you from opening them. Victims are asked to pay ransom to unlock their folders, files and devices.
Criminals use ransomware to extort money from individuals and organizations. Educational institutions and health care organizations are among the main targets.
Ransomware doesn’t just encrypt hard drives. It can also affect backups, flash drives, and cloud storage.
How is it spread?
- It usually spreads through attachments or links clicked in spam or phishing emails. Opening what looks like an innocent attachment or clicking on an unknown link can download the malware and encrypt your system and network.
- Through software exploits and flaws such as macro-enabled Office documents or unpatched computers and devices.
- In the net by compromised ad networks and by malicious files hosted on peer-to-peer file sharing sites.
Negative consequences of ransomware infections include:
- Temporary or permanent loss of confidential or proprietary information
- Interruption of regular operations
- Financial losses incurred to restore systems and files
- Potential damage to an organization’s reputation and so-called double-extortion attacks, in which cybercriminals threaten to release stolen information if the ransom is not paid.
Keep these tips in mind when browsing the Internet and checking email:
- Update the software frequently. Unpatched software may contain security holes that leave your system vulnerable. Only download updates from your app store or from a known and marked source.
- Be careful when you browse the web and check your inbox. Never download attachments or click on links from unknown senders. If you see a suspicious email, report it by clicking the “Report Phishing” button at the top of your Outlook navigation pane or mobile device.
- Use unique and complex passwords that cannot be easily guessed and Two Factor Authentication such as DUO to provide additional password security against ransomware and other cyber attacks.
- Back up your files regularly. Secure your backup in a safe place and unplug the device when you’re not using it. Ransomware can infect connected network and external drives.
Our line of defense against these attacks includes EVERYONE!
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