Never click on unverified links
Avoid clicking links in spam emails or on unfamiliar websites. Downloads that start when you click on malicious links is one way that your computer could get infected.
Once the ransomware is on your computer, it will encrypt your data or lock your operating system. Once the ransomware has something to hold as ‘hostage,’ it will demand a ransom so that you can recover your data. Paying these ransoms may seem like the simplest solution. However, this is exactly what the perpetrator wants you to do and paying these ransoms does not guarantee they will give you access to your device or your data back.
Do not open untrusted email attachments
Another way that ransomware could get onto your computer is through an email attachment.
Do not open email attachments from senders you do not trust. Look at who the email is from and confirm that the email address is correct. Be sure to assess whether an attachment looks genuine before opening it. If you’re not sure, contact the person you think has sent it and double check.
Never open attachments that ask you to enable macros to view them. If the attachment is infected, opening it will run the malicious macro, giving the malware control over your computer.
Only download from sites you trust
To reduce the risk of downloading ransomware, do not download software or media files from unknown websites.
Go to verified, trusted sites if you want to download something. Most reputable websites will have markers of trust that you can recognize. Just look in the search bar to see if the site uses ‘https’ instead of ‘http.’ A shield or lock symbol may also show in the address bar to verify that the site is secure.
If you’re downloading something on your phone, make sure you download from reputable sources. For example, Android phones should use the Google Play Store to download apps and iPhone users should use the App Store.
Avoid giving out personal data
If you receive a call, text, or email from an untrusted source that asks for personal information, do not give it out.
Cybercriminals planning a ransomware attack may try to gain personal data in advance of an attack. They can use this information in phishing emails to target you specifically.
The aim is to lure you into opening an infected attachment or link. Do not let the perpetrators get hold of data that makes their trap more convincing.
If you get contacted by a company asking for information, ignore the request, and contact the company independently to verify it is genuine.