What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a malicious software also known as malware, which infects a computer and denies access to the system or data, and demands a sum of money to restore the information. At present, the most common form of ransomware will encrypt data. Victims will receive an on-screen alert stating their files have been encrypted or a similar message, depending on the type of ransomware.

How can I protect myself?

Do not click on links or open attachments in e-mails sent to you by someone you do not know. 
  • Do not provide personal information over the phone or online to untrusted sources.
  • Install only trusted software.
  • Back up your system/data regularly and keep the backups on a separate removable hard drive. Don’t forget to disconnect when done. If possible, check the backup(s) from a separate computer that uses a different operating system.
  • Install a reputable security software suite on all devices, including personal computers, mobile phones and tablets.
  • Secure your wireless router.
  • Disable file sharing and remote desktop.
  • Make sure all your software, including anti-virus software is up to date on all your devices including personal computer, mobile phones and tablets. 

How do I report it?

If you become a victim, do not panic. Do not do anything further on your computer. Contact a trusted IT professional who can try to isolate the threat. Report the incident to your local police force. Please remember that every report counts and is a valuable tool for investigators.

Please also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) by reporting the incident at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca. Additional help may be found on the No More Ransom website at www.nomoreransom.org. The site is a tool to help victims retrieve their data and was developed by law enforcement and IT security companies globally.  

This information was originally posted in the May 2017 RCMP Ransomware Bulletin.