Several hospitals have been the target lately of a new phenomenon called “ransomware.” And anyone can be a victim.
Ransomware occurs when you inadvertently download malware, or malicious software from either an email attachment or a website link that interrupts your access to your computer files. The malware then causes a notice to pop up on your screen that says you need to pay a certain amount of virtual dollars to receive a code that will unblock you from your computer files.
The amount of “ransom” money demanded varies, but normally falls between $200 and $400 for individuals. The result is that you’ll either lose your data or the cash you’ll pay for the ransom.
Tips to protect your computer
- Back up your computer data on a removable hard drive or through a cloud backup system (several sites offer this for personal users).
- Make sure you run updated anti-virus software and personal firewalls on your computer. Set them to scan all files and software in emails and from websites.
- Don’t open any attachments from people you don’t know or are not expecting. If you recognize the sender, but aren’t expecting an attachment, check with them before clicking on the email as their account may have been compromised.
- If you have children at home, make sure they have limited ability to install applications and that parental controls are set on all computers.
- Don’t click links in emails unless the person sending them is trusted and you’ve been expecting to receive the links.
- Be aware of bogus communications which include links. Look for misspellings of company names in the email as these may indicate fraud.
Don’t pay the ransom!
The government does not encourage paying these hackers for the data. Please reach out to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) if you fall victim.
At Webster, cyber security is our top priority, and that includes making sure you are aware of potential threats and know how to protect yourself.
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