Is your data being held for ransom? Ransomware attacks are on the rise. Statistics show that ransomware now accounts for about one-fifth of all cyber attacks. It’s a type of malware that, when deployed, locks the victim’s files while simultaneously demanding payment.

Paying the ransom, though, isn’t a guaranteed solution. Your files may remain locked, making them inaccessible even after paying the ransom. How do you recover your files without paying the ransom exactly?

Run Antivirus Software

Depending on the type of ransomware that’s affecting your computer, you may be able to recover your data by running antivirus software. Some types of ransomware encrypt data. Using an encryption algorithm, they will scramble your data. Other types of ransomware only restrict access to data, Non-encrypting ransomware such as this is easier to remove than its encrypting counterpart. Antivirus software can potentially detect and remove non-encrypting ransomware, thus allowing you to recover your data.

Search for the Key

Even if you’re dealing with encrypting ransomware, you may be able to remove it. Encryption ransomware requires a key to remove. Normally, the hacker will demand payment in exchange for this key. But you may be able to find the necessary key by searching online. Once you’ve identified the specific type of ransomware that’s affecting your computer, use Google to search for a key to it. With a little bit of luck, you may find the key published online.

Use a Decryptor Tool

Another way to recover your files without paying the ransom is to use a decryptor tool. Decryptor tools live up to their namesake by “decrypting” files. For a list of popular decryptor tools, check out this page. Decryptor tools don’t work with all types of ransomware. If you’ve already tried using antivirus software and manually searching for the key online, however, you should try using a decryptor tool to recover your data.

Restore a Backup

When all else fails, you can recover your files by restoring a backup. Windows, for instance, has a system restore feature. You can use this feature to roll back your computer to an earlier data — a date before the ransomware was deployed. It will restore all of your data up until that point in time.

Paying the ransom may sound like the easiest solution, but there are other ways to recover your data. You can run antivirus software, search for the key online, use a decryptor tool or even restore a backup.