- Open a malicious attachment in an email.
- Click on a malicious link in an email, instant message, social networking site or other website.
- Visit a corrupt website – often these are of a pornographic nature.
- Open infected files from web-based digital file delivery companies (for example Hightail – formerly called YouSendIt, and Dropbox).
- Open corrupt macros in application documents (word processing, spreadsheets etc).
- Connect corrupt USB connected devices (eg memory sticks, external hard drives, MP3 players).
- Insert corrupt CDs/DVDs into your computer.
- Do not reply to, or click on links contained in, unsolicited or spam emails from companies or individuals you do not recognise.
- Visit only websites you know to be reputable.
- Always install updates to software and apps – including operating systems – as soon as prompted.
- Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.
- Regularly back up all your data, including to a USB-connected device stored remotely from your computer. This is because some ransomware can also infect your cloud-based storage.
If you have ransomware on your computer
- To detect and remove ransomware and other malicious software that may be installed on your computer, run a full system scan with an appropriate, up-to-date, security solution.
- If your computer has been locked by ransomware, seek professional advice from a trustworthy source.
- Bear in mind that even when a ransom is paid, the criminals responsible rarely unlock the files
If you have paid for files to be unlocked
- Report the incident to the police