Devices Held Hostage
Ransomware is a type of malware that is unwittingly downloaded when you click on a tainted link, open an infected attachment, or even click on a phony advertisement. If your computer freezes, and a message on your screen tells you that your computer will remain frozen until you pay a ransom or a fee, you have become a victim of ransomware. The criminals often ask for a minimal amount of money to give you access to your computer again. They believe that you are comfortable paying them to avoid the frustration of the situation. Sometimes the denominations are very small and the accepted method of payment transmission might include wiring money through a common wire service. Thieves also may ask you to make a payment via a premium text message or send them money as a type of online cash.
Protect Your Devices Against Ransomware
- Install current firewall, anti-virus software, and anti-malware software on your computer, tablet, and other mobile devices.
- Back up everything on your devices to a cloud service or a USB drive.
- Never click on a link or download an attachment unless you have independently confirmed that the communication or advertisement is legitimate. Emails that contain links to businesses sent from friends may have been hacked by scammers. Go directly to a company’s website instead of clicking on a link in an email.
- Create different passwords for all of your accounts.
- Change your passwords every six months.