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Take 2 Minutes: Ransomware

By Joshua Cameron

Published April 21, 2021 • 2 Min Read

Ransomware is a serious kind of cyber attack. But how does it work? Take two minutes to find out about ransomware and how to keep your files safe.

What’s ransomware?

It’s malware (malicious software) that blocks you from accessing your data on a device. Someone gets their software onto your device and locks your files/folders until you pay to get it back — it’s like if someone changed the locks on your car and then wanted to sell you the key.

Why is it dangerous?

You can’t get to your information, and if you pay, scammers may target you again and get more access to your financial information.

What can you do to avoid ransomware?

Take two minutes to learn how to stay safe from ransomware.

  • Make backups. The best defense against ransomware is having backup copies of your files. Ransomware can’t attack a storage device that’s unplugged, safely tucked away in a drawer.

  • Only download files and programs from official sites. A free “Drake album” file or an unauthorized best-seller PDF may cost you more than the official ones. If you’re on your phone, only use the official app store for your phone (Google Play for android phones or the App Store for Apple phones).

  • Don’t click links or open attachments in unexpected emails. Scammers love to serve up ransomware via phishing emails. So, ignore and delete emails from unknown senders, especially ones with links or attachments.

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from ransomware is to take two minutes to think about these steps before you click, open, or download on your devices. For more info on current or ongoing scams, check out RBC cyber security alerts.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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