You have either landed on this page of your own volition or have been directed here by staff at ComputerAid.  Either way, we will try to put in layman’s terms some information you should know. Please note that the implementation of the ransomware on your PC, by hackers, is a complex issue that we will not discuss here, as there are many articles around the Internet that can explain this.  There are four points you need to take away from this page, they are as follows

Simplistic as these four aspects seem, the process needs a little clarification. So, we will try to explain in a little detail each aspect.  Before that, we will give a brief outline of what your chances are of being a victim of ransomware.

What is RansomWare?

Now, here is where we could give you a whole spiel of techno-garbage that you would not appreciate, so we have endeavoured to explain it in a simplified way.  It is by no means a full explanation and there may be a few dubiously explained parts to it, but the aim is to give you some idea of what it’s all about.
Ransomware is as it implies: someone has done something that requires you to take some action in order to be released from the stranglehold.  In current cases, and we see that things will evolve over time to include a broader meaning, your data files (i.e. your photos, documents, spreadsheets, videos, business files [cashbook, accounting, databases, etc.] and a growing list of unique files) are locked to prevent you accessing them.  Each file will have been encrypted in such a way that it would be almost impossible to ever be able to open that file again.  Encryption is a kind of lock and key mechanism that the ransomer has applied a lock to your file and has kept the key so you cannot get in.  He may give you the key, if you pay him a princely sum.  Since your data is unique you are unable to reload your PC with Windows and have access to your files.  In fact, a legitimate use of encryption is used by your bank for online banking, so that only you  can get access to your bank accounts.  But, try getting into your bank account without a username or password – heads up here, don’t bother, you’ll fail!  Similarly, with each of your files.  Because this is a rather lucrative business and payment to the ransomer is untraceable, it will attract many more cyber criminals to do the same, so it is possible that you can have paid for ransomer 1 to unlock your files and ransomer 2 has locked them again and you have another bill to pay - ad infinitum!

Will it happen to me?

Hopefully not, but the chances partially depend upon you.  Listed below are the prerequisites of you becoming a victim.
Pre-requisites:  Unpatched Windows PC, anti-virus software outdated, visiting websites of dubious nature, opening emails with infected payloads, incorrectly configured PC.

How can I lessen the chances?

Although no method will be foolproof, if you are able to achieve the following aims, you will likely substantially reduce the likelihood of falling victim.

Keeping your PC up to date

Depending upon whether you have IT personnel maintaining your PC’s on a monthly basis or whether you perform the necessary maintenance yourself or you rely on the automatic updates that your operating system may provide, you need to be sure of what’s happening.
Unless you subscribe to monitored services, you will constantly need to check whether the automatic updating system operates correctly (recently the Windows 10 upgrade failed miserably and caused MANY PC’s to be left unpatched), as it seems from experience that they fail without any warning and leave many PC’s vulnerable.  Automatic means you NEED to monitor it!!  If you’re performing your own maintenance, you seriously need to consider whether you know enough perform the required maintenance correctly.
There are many guides on how you should perform updating, both from a personal homes user’s point of view and from a IT Technician’s point of view, but if you’re doing it yourself, you will need to make those decisions yourself.

Your Backup

Okay, it is probably the most overlooked aspect of computing today.  MOST PC’s are not backed up and this leaves the data irreplaceable in the event of something catastrophic.  Ransomware could be classified as catastrophic!
Whether you carry out daily, weekly, monthly or live backups is a choice of any user.  As a rule of thumb the more often your data is backed up, the higher the cost; the more data you backup, the higher the cost.  So, it is purely how much value you place on your data.  Since this area is subjective, I’ll leave you to decide on the answers!
You need to ensure that any backup strategy you elect to use will need to be immune to the effects of Ransomware.  Please don’t think a backup to an external drive or USB stick will be sufficient – the attack will encrypt them too!  No file will be left unturned.


Again, if you engage the services of managed anti-virus, there is little more you can do to prevent becoming a victim, apart from saying that: when messages appear on your screen, Take Notice!!
If you’re looking after it yourself then much the same applies to this aspect as does the Operating System Updates above.  You NEED to ensure two things: that it is firstly configured correctly – no Anti-Virus is configured very well straight out of the box!  You will need to tailor it to your requirements and usage patterns.  Secondly, that the updating is actually performing correctly.  Please note that having an Anti-Virus installed on your PC will not in itself prevent you from becoming a victim of ransomware because the techniques used to encrypt your files are not viruses and are often initiated by the person operating the computer.  Many authorities on the internet are implying that an up-to-date Anti-Virus will keep you safe - that is categorically WRONG!!  It only helps.

Be Alert!

Okay, I agree, this is somewhat vague, but the unfortunate part about this is that threats evolve over time and what I write today about how to do something or not do something, may not only be wrong advice in a year from now, but may in fact be counterproductive!  So, being alert to messages that pop up on screen, changes in the behavior of your PC, what programmes you install (and what programmes are installed without your knowledge), what is and what isn’t happening on your PC (i.e. there were no updates this month or a program I don’t know wants to update) and a general “feel” of your PC, will be required on your part in order to notice that something may be wrong.


Although I’m being a little harsh here when I say that: if you still don’t fully understand what you should do after reading this article, you are probably not knowledgeable in this area to go it alone.  Therefore, the obvious answer will be to engage someone to make sure your data is safe.
Most of the information here has been gleaned, not from gut feelings, but actual experience in the field and having to deal with issues, yes, we’ve had to deal with Ransomware too, and advice given is derived from practical and working models.


We do provide fully managed services to significantly reduce the chances of you becoming the victim of ransomware.  We also provide remote services where we can “see” what is happening from our comfortable office chairs!  We additionally can set up PC’s to provide us feedback of the health of your PC, alerting us real-time of threats and concerns.
So, if you’re wanting to relinquish all your worries and give them to someone else, here’s how we can help

And Finally …

Ransomware is REAL, there is a distinct possibility that you can become a victim, do not under-estimate that!  Take it seriously and do not add to the growing number of victims.
As is pointed out on many websites, paying the ransom is never a sure way of having your files back.  Paying the ransom is possibly a precursor to multiple hits on you – this may be the first time you pay and may certainly not be the last.  Most sites say, don’t pay, but then it’s not their data that’s been lost!  Easy for them to say that!  So, in  order for you to recover from the problem, a sensible strategy in place is the best option.