Ransomware is a very large problem these days. It happens when someone tricks you into downloading and running some code (like in an attachment). Usually the email or website will tell you something scary (like you’ve been fined for something you didn’t do), or promise to show you a funny or interesting video.

The downloaded software immediately encrypts your documents with a secret password, and a message asks you to pay money to receive the password to unlock your files.

Apparently many people pay the ransom, totalling about $18 million in 2016. That’s crazy. If this happens to you please don’t pay. Don’t encourage this kind of crime. You have other options.

Firstly, keep a backup of all your documents. This is the most useful thing you can do today. You have so many good options for backups, including some good cloud storage services. If anything happens to your files you can just restore the backups instead of paying huge amounts of money.

Next, if you are affected by ransomware there are many free tools to decrypt your files without paying. Begin by going to this website:


This website is run by some very good security companies: Europol, the Dutch National Police, Intel Security, Kaspersky Lab, Bitdefender, Check Point, Emsisoft and Trend Micro. So you can trust their advice.

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