The term "ransomware" refers to malicious software (malware) used by criminals to lock their victim's computer so that they can demand a ransom to unlock it.
The procedure is similar to "phishing" in that the malware can only be installed by criminals operating remotely. Usually the malware is sent as an attachment in an email or other message inviting the victim to click on a link or download some content. Sometimes the message is reinforced by a claim that the victim's computer is being blocked by the Police because of some illegal activity.
To unlock the computer, the victim is told to pay for some software or a password. Of course, the criminals tell the victim that following this procedure is the only way to regain control of their computer.
In fact, users can disinfect the computer and retrieve the data themselves by following the instruction sheet provided by the Computer Incident Response Center Luxembourg.
However, there are some preventive measures you can take to avoid or minimise the impact of such an attack:
- back up your data regularly;
- keep your software updated;
- use antivirus software and keep it updated;
- think before you click.
- Don't pay if you are the victim of this kind of attack. Report it to the Police.