Ransomware is a type of malware that infects computers and mobile phones and restricts users’ access to their files or threatens the permanent destruction of their information unless a ransom—anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars—is paid.
Victims are infected with CryptoWall, for example, by clicking on links in malicious e-mails that appear to be from legitimate businesses and through compromised advertisements on popular websites.
What You Can Do
- Use and maintain anti-virus software. Anti-virus software can often recognize and protect your computer against most known viruses, so you may be able to detect and remove the virus before it can do any damage.
- Use caution with email attachments. Do not open email attachments that you were not expecting, especially if they are from people you do not know.
- Be wary of downloadable files on websites. Avoid downloading files from sites you do not trust. If you are getting the files from a supposedly secure site, look for a website certificate. If you do download a file, consider saving it to your computer and manually scanning it for viruses before opening it.
- Keep software up-to-date. Install software patches so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities.
- Take advantage of security settings. Check the security settings of your email client and your web browser for more information. Apply the highest level of security available that still gives you the functionality you need.
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