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What is ransomware, and what can I do?

Ransomware is a type of malware that holds the information on your computer hostage in exchange for a ransom.  Usually, there is a deadline to pay the ransom, and a means of contacting the people holding your data.  Your data will still be on your hdd or ssd, but the ransomers encrypt it, and they and only they have the key to decrypt it.  The FBI says that you should not pay the ransom, as there is no guarantee that the ransom holders will give you the decryption keys.  The best defenses against a ransomware attack are as follows.


  • Make sure all security updates and patches are installed.
  • Have both network and non network backups, such as flash drives or dvds.
  • Download files only from sources you trust, or use to scan links and files before opening them.
  • Change the name of default user accounts on your system, as well as the passwords.
  • Make sure to use a non admin account on your computer.  This way, malware may not always get admin access to your system.

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