Should you pay the ransom?
The ransom amount varies. These days, it’s a few hundred dollars per user. The FBI reports that it’s seen ransoms as high as $5,000 per user. Nearly 60% of businesses hit by ransomware had more than 100 employees, and 25% were enterprises with more than 1,000 employees.
We don’t recommend you pay unless there is no other choice. There is no guarantee that handing over the ransom will give you access to your files again. Paying the ransom could also make you a target for more malware. So the decision to pay often comes down to whether or not you have another option.
- No backup? Pay the ransom. If you lack any form of file backup, you have no choice but to pay the ransom and hope you get your files back. (According to our survey of 300 experts, 19% of victims that paid the ransom still didn’t get their files back.)
- Try restoring from backup. If you have a backup, you can try restoring clean versions. though, your users will be down during the hours and days it takes to restore their files.
How did ransomware get onto my PC?
In most instances, the ransomware is executed when you open or visit:
1. Spam emails
- To prevent your PC from being infected it’s a good idea to consider the following:
- If you aren’t sure who sent you the email – or something doesn’t look quite right – don’t open it
- If an email says you have to update your details, don’t click on the link in the email
- Don’t open an attachment to an email that you weren’t expecting, or that was sent by someone you don’t know.
2. Infected removable devices
- Many worms spread by infecting removable drives such as USB flash drives or external hard drives. The malware can be automatically installed when you connect the infected drive to your PC. Some worms can also spread by infecting PCs connected to the same network.
3. Bundled with other software
- Some malware can be installed at the same time as other programs that you download. This includes software from third-party websites or files shared through peer-to-peer networks.
- Some programs will also install other applications that we detect as potentially unwanted software. This can include toolbars or programs that show you extra ads as you browse the web. Usually you can opt-out and not install these extra applications by unticking a box during the installation.
4. Hacked or compromised webpages
- Malware can use known software vulnerabilities to infect your PC. A vulnerability is like a hole in your software that can give malware access to your PC.
- When you go to a website, it can try to use those vulnerabilities to infect your PC with malware. The website might be malicious or it could be a legitimate website that has been compromised or hacked.
5. Other malware
- Some types of malware can download other threats to your PC. Once these threats are installed on your PC they will continue to download more threats.
- The best protection from malware and potentially unwanted software is an up-to-date, real-time security product, such as Windows Defender for Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, or Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7 and Windows Vista.