Ransomware is one of the most destructive types of malware in existence. Depending on the specific type, it can lock all or some of your files so that you are no longer able to access it. At the same time, ransomware will demand a payment. When you boot up your infected computer, you’ll see a pop-up message asking for a payment in order to regain file access. Here are several dos and don’ts to follow when dealing with ransomware.
Do Disconnect From Your Network
When you discover your computer is infected with ransomware, you should immediately disconnect it from your network. Quarantining your computer will protect the other computers and devices on your network from suffering the same fate. If you leave the infected computer connected, the ransomware may spread to other computers and devices.
Don’t Pay the Ransom
It’s certainly tempting to pay the fee so that you can move on from the ransomware attack. Whether the fee is $100 or $10,000, though, you shouldn’t pay it. There’s no guarantee that the ransomware will be removed after you pay the fee. Furthermore, paying the fee provides financing to hackers behind ransomware attacks, thus encouraging them to find new victims.
You should take the time to investigate the ransomware. If you see a pop-up message, for example, copy and paste the text into Google — with quotation marks surrounding it — to see what comes up. You may discover that other users have encountered the same type of ransomware, and some of these users may have found a solution that they shared online.
Don’t Create a Backup
What’s wrong with creating a backup if your computer is infected with ransomware? Well, if you create a full backup, you may inadvertently copy the ransomware. You should create backups before ransomware, as well as other malware, reaches your computer. If an infection has already occurred, it’s too late. The backup will contain a copy of the ransomware, making the backup useless at best and dangerous at worst.
Do Attempt a System Recovery
In some cases, performing a system recovery can remove all traces of ransomware. System restore is a feature in operating systems, including Windows, that allows you to roll back to your computer to an earlier date. If the infection occurred last week, for example, you can use system recovery to roll back your computer to two or three weeks ago, which should remove the ransomware.