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What is ransomware?

The word "ransom" is an English word and refers to a payment or demand that must be met in exchange for the release of something or someone. Ransomware refers to harmful software (viruses) that encrypts the files on the affected computer and connected drives. This means that the user no longer has access to their data and information (photos, documents, and other files). Once the encryption process has been completed, cyber criminals demand payment of a ransom. Individuals who pay the demanded amount are promised a program to restore their files. There is no guarantee that you will receive this software and that it will even work.

Experts estimate the total damage caused by ransomware last year to be around $325 million. In addition to the ransom money, users also have to expend time and money to reinstall the affected system and restore backed up data.

Who is affected?

It can happen to anyone. There are known cases involving private individuals, companies of every size, and Government agencies. The extortionists will often adjust the ransom money to fit the victim: From private individuals, they generally demand a few hundred francs, while they may demand thousands to hundreds of thousands of francs from companies, depending on their size.

How does ransomware get on a computer?

Ransomware is distributed in various ways. Most commonly used are spam e-mails that feign urgency ("Subject: Your Bill") or are meant to make the victim curious ("Subject: Confidential Document"). Anyone who opens the e-mail attachment thus installs the ransomware. That's why such e-mails should be left unread and should be deleted.

The extortionist will often misuse hacked, legitimate websites. There they will take advantage of gaps in the security of the victim's computer to install ransomware in the background unnoticed.

How can I protect myself?

You can protect yourself against attacks by regularly updating your operating system and all installed programs, optimally through their built-in automatic update features.

With surf protect, Sunrise also offers a security option that will check websites a customer visited while surfing the Internet directly in the Sunrise network for threats, and prevent their spread. Surf protect is easy to use, always up-to-date, and doesn't require any software installation.

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