You receive a great online offer. It’s too good to be true. You click on it and, before you know it, hackers have taken over your laptop and blocked your access to it. Your files are being held hostage. You have to pay a large ransom to get them back. Don’t give data kidnapping a chance! Make regular back-ups. And never open suspicious attachments or click on suspicious ads.
Prevent data kidnapping.
Your files held hostage
Think to yourself how many valuable files are on your computer: family photos, voluminous reports, your financial records, research results, and so on. You shouldn’t think about losing them, should you? An ideal target for hackers to hold those files hostage. They remain on your computer, but they are made inaccessible. Often this happens via a file (malware) that you have unknowingly stored on your computer, but the malware can also spread via the intranet, for example.
Pay or lose your data
When you try to open such a file, or sometimes even when you want to start your computer, you will be told that you have to pay a ransom first. But even if you pay, it is doubtful whether you will ever get your files back.
It is difficult to completely fend off such attacks, and once hit, your only options are to pay or completely erase your hard drive. Fortunately, however, you can limit the consequences by making sure you always have an up-to-date backup.
Prevent data hijacking with these tips:
- Report an infection at an institution to the service desk as soon as possible.
- Disconnect from the Internet: disconnect the IP cable, and turn off wi-fi on your device. This will prevent further spread.
- Leave your device on. An expert may still be able to stop the process while it is not yet complete.
- Do not pay a ransom. By doing so, you reward the hackers and keep their revenue model alive.
- A computer expert may be able to decrypt your files. At nomoreransom.org there are tools to recover files.
Are you a victim of ransomware and need immediate help? Check out first aid for cybercrime.
Protect yourself and your data with cybersecurity basics.