This is the third of a multipart series on common types of malware and other computer hazards. For those who have managed services with Micro Visions, we’re keeping an eye on threats for you. However, there are always small things you can do to further protect yourself.

Part 3: Ransomware

Ransomware likes to sneak into your computer and encrypt your files. It’s called ransomware because if you give the attacker money, he could theoretically decrypt the data. Most of the time. Unless it’s Thanatos, in which case that’s not an option). This is a problem because you cannot access the encrypted files. THIS IS NOT TO SAY YOU SHOULD PAY THE ATTACKERS. In fact, the FBI’s official recommendation is that you do NOT pay the ransom. It is possible that even if you pay it, the attackers will not give you a decryption key.

Typically, ransomware gets into your computer by compromised websites ("malvertising") or by piggybacking on other forms of malware. However, you can also pick it up by clicking links (even those that look legitimate) that are coded to infect your computer.

What to do?

Micro Visions protects against ransomware by monitoring and updating your systems as necessary and running antivirus software. To protect yourself, be sure that your operating system is up to date, avoid opening emails from unknown senders (and be judicious about opening things from known senders). For more details on protecting yourself, check out this post on our blog from July 2017.  It covered the WannaCry ransomware attacks. So, it contains five good tips for preventing ransomware, and when it comes to this kind of malware, prevention is better than reaction. Once an attacker encrypts your files, getting them back is often a long shot.