Ransomware – How to Prevent

What is ransomware?

A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

What does ransomware do?

Prevent you from accessing Windows.

Encrypt files so you can’t use them.

Stop certain apps from running (like your web browser).

How to Prevent Ransomware

Install and use an up-to-date antivirus solution.

Make sure your software is up-to-date.

Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments or emails from people you don’t know or companies you don’t do business with.

Ensure you have smart screen (in Internet Explorer) turned on.

Have a pop-up blocker running in your web browser.

Regularly backup your important files.

You can backup your files with a cloud storage service that keeps a history or archive of your files, such as OneDrive which is now fully integrated into Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, and Microsoft Office.

After you’ve removed the ransomware infection from your computer, you can restore previous, unencrypted versions of your Office files using “version history”.

See the question “How do I get my files back?” above for more help on how to use this feature in OneDrive.

How do I remove ransomware from my PC?

How to remove the ransomware depends on what type it is.

If your web browser is locked

You can try to unlock your browser by using Task Manager to stop the web browser’s process:

Open Task Manager. There are a number of ways you can do this:

Right-click on an empty space on the taskbar and click Task Manager or Start Task Manager.

Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.

Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete.

In the list of Applications or Processes, click on the name of your web browser.

Click End task. If you are asked if you want to wait for the program to respond, click Close the program.

In some workplaces, access to Task Manager may be restricted by your network administrator. Contact your IT department for help.

When you open your web browser again, you may be asked to restore your session. Do not restore your session or you may end up loading the ransomware again.

See the question “How do I protect myself from ransomware” above for tips on preventing browser-based ransomware from running on your PC.