Police Scotland is warning computer users to ensure their devices have the latest versions of security software installed, following an increase in malicious attacks which locks out users from their data.
Every computer user is vulnerable to the malware, and Scotland has been targeted because of the high number of small to medium sized enterprises which operate here, and which often do not have the IT resources of larger companies.
Computers can be attacked in a number of ways, such as by opening a malicious attachment hidden in an email, clicking on a malicious link in a social media message or by visiting a website which has been corrupted, often unknown to the website’s host.
Inserting a corrupted USB device, such as a mobile phone, memory stick, external hard drive of a music player
The ‘ransomware’ attack encrypts the data and disables all functionality, then tells the computer user they have to pay a substantial sum to be able to use their computer device again.
But even if they do, there is no guarantee this will work, and they can also become vulnerable to repeat attacks.
Police Scotland is advising every computer user to ensure they are running the latest versions of security software; have their data backed up regularly; be extremely vigilant about opening any unsolicited email; and visiting websites they are not familiar with, or do not have a business need to access.