This guest blog post is provided by Public Safety Canada which leads Get Cyber Safe, a national public awareness campaign about Internet security and online safety.

Recently there has been a growing conversation about the dangers of ransomware, but what exactly is it? Ransomware is a form of malware that provides cyber criminals with the ability to steal money from their victims. Such criminals usually do this by withholding access to your computer until a sum of money is paid. For example, criminals may threaten to exploit personal information or may demand payment in order for the victim to be able to open a certain computer file.

Ransomware can spread through various forms, but the most common entry points are via e-mail attachments, infected programs and compromised websites.

It is important, especially for those who own small and medium businesses, to protect themselves by taking precautionary measures.  The best way to do so is by running data back-ups on a regular basis. By backing up your device to a USB key and/or hard drive, you avoid putting yourself in a position that makes you feel like you must obey the demands of a cyber criminal.  Having a second copy of everything that is stored on your computer gives you the security you need.

If you do happen to fall victim to ransomware, be sure never to comply or negotiate with the cyber criminal!

Although ransomware is still a growing problem, being prepared is a key ingredient to avoiding its risks and dangers.

To learn more about ransomware and the latest online scams visit our website.