Think your computer has been infected with ransomware? Research shows that nearly 2 million ransomware attacks occur each day. While some of these attacks target Fortune 500 companies and other large enterprises, others target small businesses. Small businesses are often viewed as low-hanging fruit. They lack the resources to defend against ransomware attacks, making them easy targets for cyber criminals. If you run a small business, you should familiarize yourself with the signs of a ransomware attack.

Can’t Run Antivirus Software

If you’re unable to run antivirus software, your computer may be infected with ransomware. There are many different types of ransomware, each of which has its own malicious code with its own unique properties. Some of the more advanced types of ransomware, though, are able to block access to antivirus software. Once deployed, the ransomware will prohibit you from opening or running antivirus software.

Inaccessible Files

A telltale sign of a ransomware infection is inaccessible files. Ransomware receives its namesake from its mechanics. It works by holding your files for ransom. Ransomware will block access to some or all of your computer’s files. At the same time, the malicious software will display a ransom message demanding that you pay a fee to regain file access.

Unknown File Extensions

Have you come across one or more files with an unknown extension on your computer? This could be a sign of a ransomware infection. Ransomware consists of malicious software. With that said, it often uses an unknown extension. Rather than an actual extension, ransomware may feature a seemingly random combination of letters and numbers for the extension.

System Slowdown

If your computer has been slower than usual, ransomware may to be blame. Ransomware consumes resources. It will steal your computer’s processing power, memory and other resources as it performs its file-locking activities. With this system slowdown, it may take longer for your computer to start up, or you may experience a delay when browsing the internet.


Pop-ups are a common sign of a ransomware infection. When ransomware infects your computer, it will begin to display a ransom message. After all, the goal of ransomware is to force victims into paying a fee. Even if you pay the ransom fee, though, you may not regain access to your files. The hacker who deployed the ransomware may simply take your cash and run. This is why it’s best to avoid paying the ransom and, instead, try to resolve the infection. Regardless, ransom messages are oftentimes displayed using pop-ups.