- Don’t trust any links or attachments in email – this remains the most common way that ransomware takes hold. If you weren’t expecting the email, do not open it. If unsure, always seek a second opinion from a tech savvy friend – or just delete the email.
- Keep your software and operating system updated.
- Uninstall unused or notoriously vulnerable applications – for example, if you don’t need Adobe Flash Player, remove it and any other applications you’re not using. Stick to the minimum.
- Use the latest protection software. AVG Internet Security is great choice because it offers multiple layers of protection – it takes the ransomware threat very seriously, and is capable of detecting wide range of ransomware families.
- Backup, backup, backup your files regularly. Keep your backup media disconnected from your PC. Otherwise, your backups might get encrypted as well. Look into cloud storage e.g. Soonr, Dropbox to safe guard your files offsite.
What if it’s too late, and your files are already being held to ransom?
- If your files have already been encrypted by ransomware, the most important thing is to stay calm.
- You should immediately contact technical support (e.g. your IT department, your AV vendor) for further assistance. You need to seek expert advice as early as possible.
- We strongly advise against paying the ransom. You’ve got no guarantee from the criminals that your files will be restored. And, if every ransomware victim refused to pay the ransom, this type of crime would quickly reduce in occurrence.
- It is quite possible that the decryption key is still located in the computer. Many ransomware families contain weaknesses in their encryption algorithm, which may lead to decrypting your files even without paying the ransom! It may take some time to spot and exploit such weaknesses, but in the meantime don’t delete your encrypted files, there may still be hope.