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Malware is malicious software, which – if able to run – can cause harm in many ways, including:
Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents you from accessing your computer (or the data that is stored on it). The computer itself may become locked, or the data on it might be stolen, deleted or encrypted. Some ransomware will also try to spread to other machines on the network, such as the Wannacry malware that impacted the NHS in May 2017.
Usually, you’re asked to contact the attacker via an anonymous email address or follow instructions on an anonymous web page, to make payment.
The payment is invariably demanded in a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, in order to unlock your computer, or access your data. However, even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that you will get access to your computer, or your files.
Occasionally malware is presented as ransomware, but after the ransom is paid the files are not decrypted. This is known as wiper malware.
For these reasons, it’s essential that you always have a recent offline backup of your most important files and data.
It is essential to plan for any incident. When creating your plan consider the following points, which should help you clarify the level of security you require and the budget you will allocate:
*Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.