Tips for Combating Ransomware

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    You may have heard news reports recently about a growing online fraud scheme known as ransomware that is targeting both individuals and businesses. Ransomware is a form of malware used by cyber criminals to freeze your computer or mobile device, steal your data and demand that a "ransom" - typically anywhere from a couple of hundred to thousands of dollars - be paid. 

    Individual computers and laptops, as well as networks and servers used by large corporations are all at risk to malware exposure. We encourage you to be on alert by following the below safe practices that will help prevent you from falling victim to these scams. 

    Tips for Consumers:

    Don't click. Visiting unsafe, suspicious or fake websites can lead to the intrusion of malware. Be cautious when opening emails or attachments you don't recognize even if the message comes from someone in your contact list.

    Always back up your files. By maintaining offline copies of your personal information, ransomware scams will have a limited impact on you. If targeted, you will be less inclined to take heed to threats posed by cyber criminals.

    Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available. 

    Enable pop up blockers. To prevent popups, turn on popup blockers to avoid unwanted ads, popups or browser malware from constantly appearing on your computer screen. 

    Tips for businesses:

    Educate your employees: Employees can serve as the first line of defense to combat online threats and can actively help stop malware from infiltrating the organization's system. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses aid tremendously in preventing these threats.

    Manage the use of privileged accounts. Restrict users' ability to install and run software applications on network devices, in an effort to limit your networks exposure to malware.

    Employ a data backup and recovery plan for all critical information. Backups are essential for lessening the impact of potential malware threats. Store the data in a separate device or offline in order to access it in the event of a ransomware attack. 

    Make sure all business devices are up to date. Ensure antivirus and antimalware solutions are set to automatically update and conduct regular scans so that your operating systems operate efficiently.

    Contact your local FBI field office immediately to report a ransomware event and request assistance if you feel you may have become a victim of this crime.