What is Ransomware?

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Computer security and hacking concept. Ransomware virus has encrypted data in laptop. Hacker is offering key to unlock encrypted data for money.

Imagine your computer suddenly freezes up and a message flashes onto the screen, demanding payment of thousands of dollars in exchange for unfreezing your computer and returning all your documents, photos, and other data.

This scenario occurs when your computer has been infected with ransomware, a form of malware that cyber attackers use to lock your device and hold your data hostage. Ransomware is a huge threat to all: private individuals and companies are vulnerable.

For example, this past May, nearly 300,000 computers running an outdated version of the Microsoft Windows operating system were victims of the WannaCry ransomware attack. Attackers demanded ransom payments in Bitcoin from more than 200,000 people.

Protect yourself from a ransomware attack:

  • Backup your data regularly.
  • Keep your operating system and software up to date.
  • Keep your antivirus software up to date. Fordham provides free antivirus to all students and employees.
  • Never click on suspicious links in an email or a website. Hover over the URL with your mouse; if the URL looks unfamiliar, don’t click.
  • Don’t open suspicious attachments.
  • If you are attacked, DO NOT pay the ransom. There’s no guarantee you’ll get your data back.

If you believe ransomware has infected your computer, contact IT Customer Care at 718-817-3999 or use the Tech Help tab at My.Fordham.edu.

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