Hi, welcome to Internet Safety for Kids and thank you for joining our program!
As always with our program Internet Safety for Kids, please make sure to watch this episode together when possible, so you all learn and understand these important topics. Don’t allow the adults to say that they already know everything because there will be plenty to learn for them, too!
There is a big problem going around on the internet and it is called ransomware. Today we will have a look at what this is, what you can do to prevent becoming a victim of ransomware, and what you should and should not do when you become a victim. Are you ready?
We will explain why is it important, what does it mean, and what should you do. Are you with us?
Let us start with explaining what ransomware is. Very simply said it means that cybercriminals encrypt all your data on your device, and they will only give it back to you when you pay them. Your data is still there but you can no longer use it because it is encrypted and you do not have the key. It is as if you can not enter your own house because someone has changed the lock on the door. And they will only give you the new key when you have paid them. Or that is what they say, because there are many cases where people have paid but still did not get the key to their data. Imagine what that means. All your pictures are gone. All videos. All files and data. Everything!
There are different ways in which ransomware cybercriminals can take control over your devices. Clicking on links or opening attachments are a very big part of that. But they can also abuse vulnerabilities in your devices or apps which are not patched. Why don’t we have a look at the things you could and should do to protect yourself against ransomware?
- Keep all your devices and apps updated and install updates as soon as they are available.
- Do not click on links in messages and emails.
- Do not open attachments in messages and emails.
- Make regular backups of all your data and keep your backup in a safe place.
- Stop and think before you do anything, it can prevent mistakes.
Even when you have done everything right, it can still happen that you fall victim to a ransomware attack and all your data on your device will be encrypted. What should you do? First of all, we recommend that you do not pay, but that is of course up to you or your parents to decide. You should definitely not use your backup until the problem is solved to make sure that the ransomware does not encrypt your backup, too. When you have a good and recent backup, the next steps are simple although it can be a lot of work, but you still might want to get some help from someone you trust. When you are certain that your data backup is safe, you can install your device from scratch and restore the data from your backup.
What if you do not have a recent backup or even no backup at all? We recommend having a look at the websites of the major antivirus software providers to see if they have any information about remedies for the ransomware that took control over your system, but we also have to be honest that the chances of success are very small. In most cases you must decide between paying the cybercriminals and take the risk that you still do not get your data back, or accept that your data is lost for good and install your system from scratch. Either way, the best approach is prevention which includes making regular backups and keep them in a safe place. Let us check those steps again.