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What is Ransomware?

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 2:00 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Ransomware is a form of malicious software, or malware, that encrypts your files, or computer, so that you cannot access those files, or your computer. According to Professor Fred Strickland, who is an Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity and Computer Science at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, since 2014, ransomware attacks have been on the rise, infecting Large and Small Businesses, Federal and local governments, and even everyday people

Strickland says ”The way it’s setup is that the cyber criminal wont give you permission or access to your computer and files until you pay some money, the ransom, to be able to use it… You see this all the time on tv shows for kidnapping scenarios DON’T PAY THE RANSOM”

So now that we know what Ransomware is, how do we avoid becoming a ransomware victim?

Strickland says” the preventative aspect is kind of common sense things: Avoid visiting questionable websites, do not open attachments from questionable or unknown people,

Professor Strickland also recommends backing up your files on a USB Drive, to the cloud, or using a backup program that can create an “Image” or copy of your operating system or files.

If you do become a victim of Ransomware, Professor Strickland says you should take the files that you do have backed up, and reinstall the operating system and then reload your files from the backup.

Strickland adds ”And if you don’t have a backup and that’s kind of embarrassing to admit when you say I don’t have a backup you need to think about how important are those files, if you are saving recipes from a website, you can afford to lose that beef stroganoff recipe that you downloaded.”

Another thing you should do is to report the ransomware to the Federal Trade Commissions “on guard online” website for Americans, or the Anti Fraud Centre website for Canadians. That way, the organizations can take the information, examine the software, and warn other people who could be at risk.

Corey Bouchard, Newssource 8

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