Ransomware is computer malware that installs covertly on a victim’s device and encrypts the files so that you can’t access them anymore. The Ransomware will then offer to give you access to your files only if you pay the “ransom” within a very limited period of time. There are many ways to get victimized by Ransomware but the most common are by receiving emails which contains a malicious attachment which you then open or entice you to visit an infected web site. It is important to note that it is impossible for anyone, including ITS and other computer professionals, to decrypt your files.

Ransomware can:

  • Prevent you from accessing your computer and files
  • Encrypt files on your system so you can’t use them
  • Stop apps from running
  • Demand that you pay money (a “ransom”) to get access to your files and operating system; there is no guarantee that paying the ransom or doing what the ransomware tells you will give access to your PC or files again
  • Make sure you have antivirus software installed on your computer system and that it’s up to date
  • Keep your operating system and all software all up to date
  • Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments or emails from people you don’t know or companies you don’t do business with
  • Do not visit unknown web sites
  • Only install software from official places like the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Microsoft Store
  • Regularly backup your important files

If you get a warning on your computer indicating that your files have been encrypted, please disconnect the affected computer from the network by unplugging the cable or disconnecting from the WiFi network and contact ITS help desk right away at x4357 or email itsecurity@brocku.ca

If you would like to learn more about Ransomware or Cyber Security, visit the Cyber Security Awareness portal to register for an upcoming workshop.