This week Ransomware which has been on the radar of many IT professionals for some time made its way into the news and has caused widespread damage to hundreds of IT Systems across the globe. So here is a quick guide to what it is.

 

What is Ransomware?

 

Ransomware, is a form of Malware(malicious software) designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. It is a growing trend over the last couple of years and worryingly is set to become more prevalent. .

 

What Does Ransomware do ?

 

Ransomware can restrict access to files and folders on your computer until a ransom is paid,

 

Ransomware can:

  • Prevent you from accessing Windows.

  • Encrypt files so you can’t use them.

  • Stop certain apps from running (like your web browser).

  • Ransomware can affect mobile phones as well as PCs

 

Ransomware will demand that you pay money (a “ransom”) to get access to your PC or files

 

Some Ransomware will claim that they will alert the Gardai or FBI to suspicious activity on your computer. This is not the case and only used as a scare tactic to get payment.

 

Should I pay the ransom?

 

No. By paying a ransom you have no guarantee that it will do anything, or that it won’t lead to further ransom demands.  Disconnect your PC from the internet, close it down and get it to a reputable IT Technician,

 

How can the malware get on my PC?

 

Malware has several ways of getting onto your PC

 

  • Email attachments.

  • 3rd party software

  • Hacked or Compromised Websites

  • Illegal Movie Websites and YES potentially Kodi,

  • Filesharing Websites

 

How do I protect myself against Malware?

  • Install and use an up-to-date antivirus solution such as Microsoft Security Essentials also I highly recommend Malwarebytes

  • Make sure your software is up-to-date

  • Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments or emails from people you don’t know or companies you don’t do business with.

  • Have a pop-up blocker running in your web browser.

  • Keep a backup of personal and important files on an external hard drive, which is not connected to the Internet.

  • Don’t install apps unless they come from official app stores, such as Google’s Play Store, or Apple’s App Store.

  • Pay attention to emails you receive, always air on the side of caution. If you get an email asking for information such as passwords, account numbers, or to click a link that doesn’t look right dont click it, check it out first. Remember no irish bank will ever email you asking for details. No matter how authentic it looks

  • Remember Cyber Criminals are using ever more clever and sophisticated ways to trick unsuspecting victims into clicking on Phishing emails.

 

If you have any concerns or worries about your IT Security in either your home or business David Browne – Digital Business Development, in Navan  would be only too happy to help you. visit www.davidkbrowne.com for more

This Article has been written for The Meath Herald and also appears on www.davidkbrowne.com