Back-up your files today!

Back-up your files today!

UNH ISS, November, 2015

Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of cybercrime and you can best protect yourself by ensuring your computer is backed-up regularly. Ransomware scams, such as ‘CryptoWall’, involve a type of malware that infects computers and restricts users’ access to their files or threatens the destruction of their information unless a ransom— from hundreds to thousands of dollars—is paid.

An advisory from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) last June stated that more than $1 million a month, was paid to recover computers from ransomware incidents last year. In that time, the FBI received nearly one thousand ransomware complaints from citizens, businesses, and government agencies. Here in New Hampshire, the Town of Greenland and the Durham Police Department were recent victims of ransomware attacks.

How does ransomware get on your computer? Hackers can send out thousands of emails at a time which contain ransomware. An unsuspecting user clicks on a link or attachment in the email, and the ransomware is unknowingly installed. Cyber criminals create email subject lines and copy that looks legitimate and fools the recipients into believing the messages are coming from their banks, the IRS, the University or any number of other ‘official’ relationships they have – they click where instructed and infect their computers.

Ransomware is easy to protect against – simply back-up your files. Ransomware is often not malware that disables your computer or creates any other type of malfunction. The hackers know that a good percentage of people don’t backup, and they’ll get their share of ransoms.

Backed-up files can be used to restore your information which has been ‘locked’ by ransomware; if you encounter ransomware, consult with your departmental or UNH IT support before taking any action. In addition to backing up your files, there are many anti-ransomware apps available. For more information visit Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center for an in-depth description of ransomware, various examples, how it works, and how to protect yourself. For Mac users, go to the official Apple Support Communities and do a search on ‘ransomware’.

Bottom line – protect yourself from ransomware as well as a computer failure or loss. Go back-up your files today!

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