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What to Know About Ransomware

  • Posted on December 08, 2023
Key Takeaways:
  • Hackers use ransomware to access a company or person’s private data and prevent them from accessing it unless they’re paid.
  • Hackers install ransomware on a victim’s computer by getting them to click on a link or download an attachment.
  • To protect yourself from ransomware, back up your files and keep software up to date.
  • If you’re a victim of ransomware, report it to the FBI.

You may have heard of ransomware in the news. Hackers use ransomware to take control of a company’s private data and may threaten to release it to the public unless they’re paid. The companies make the headlines, but individuals face ransomware attacks, too. Understanding how it works is the first step to avoiding it.

How Ransomware Works

Hackers using ransomware stole more than $34 million in 2022, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Hackers install ransomware on a victim’s computer by getting them to click on a link in a text or email or download an email attachment. Why would you click? Hackers go to extremes to make their messages look legitimate. (There are some common signs that they aren’t.)

Once you’ve inadvertently installed the ransomware on your computer, the hacker has control of it. They can access anything on it, while preventing you from accessing it. 


Ways to Protect Yourself

The FBI recommends backing up your files and keeping your software up to date. (Updates often include stronger security measures.) 

The FBI does not recommend paying ransoms because it encourages hackers to keep demanding them.  Hackers may also use the money to pay for other illegal activities.

If you are the victim of a ransomware attack, you can report it to the FBI and receive assistance in getting your information back without paying up.

At United, we’re always here to help you keep your financial information safe from hackers. We will never email, text, or call you and ask you to provide your United Community account information. Stop by your local branch or schedule an appointment online to learn more about cybersecurity at United Community.

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