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The Alarming Rise Of #Ransomware

Cyber-criminals are adopting ransomware in “alarming” numbers, security researchers have warned.

Ransomware is malicious software that scrambles the data on a victim’s device and asks for payment before it will restore the data to its original state. The costs of unlocking data vary, with individuals typically paying a few hundred pounds and businesses a few thousand.

There are now more than 120 separate families of ransomware, according to experts studying the malicious software. Other researchers have seen a 3,500% increase in the criminal use of the net infrastructure that helps run ransomware campaigns.

The rise in these is thought to be driven by the money made by ransomware and the increase in kits that can help the criminals catch out their victims.

To avoid ransomware as effectively as possible;

  • Do not reply to – or click on any links or attachments contained within – unsolicited or spam emails that you do not recognise, or who do not normally contact you via email
  • Only visit reputable websites
  • Make sure you have installed, and regularly update, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as running a firewall before you go online
  • Back up all your important files and store them off your network – not just on the cloud (ransomware could infect your cloud system too)

If you have ransomware on your device;

  • Disconnect it from the network, and seek professional assistance to clean the device
  • If you become a victim of ransomware – contact Action Fraud

For more information on this story, visit the BBC News article.


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Be Cyber Streetwise is a cross-government campaign, funded by the National Cyber Security Programme. They aim to measurably and significantly improve the online safety behaviour and confidence of consumers and small businesses (SMEs).

Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety. Their website offers advice on how you can protect yourself, your computers and devices, and your business against the likes of fraud, identity theft, viruses and other potential online problems.

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