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What can I do if I fall victim of ransomware?

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Ransomware is a malicious computer virus that is installed on a device and hijacks it (and the files it contains) until a ransom is paid. This phenomenon has grown exponentially over the last few years. Both businesses and individuals can be victims.

There are two main types of ransomware:

  • Locker, which blocks access to the IT system;
  • Cryptor, which encrypts files and the IT network.

Here are five things you can do if you are a victim of ransomware

  • If you discover that your computer has been infected by this kind of virus, immediately log off from any networks. This blocks your computer's access to the hacker.
  • And above all, do not pay the ransom! Payment is never a guarantee and there is no way you can be sure your data has not been corrupted anyway.
  • Make a complaint to the police. The use of ransomware is considered extortion.
  • To protect yourself from such attacks, save your data regularly and update your software and antivirus. Also be vigilant regarding any unknown emails and attachments you may receive. If you are a business, regardless of your size, make sure you have a Business Continuity Recovery Plan so you can continue your activities.
  • Check whether the authorities offer a decryption tool, such as that on the website "No More Ransom".

More information?

CERT.be and the Belgian Cybersecurity Centre have produced the prospectus "Ransomware, protection et prévention" (in French or Dutch) containing practical advice.

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