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There’s a scary new threat in the world of cyber security: ransomware. While most malware tries to steal your personal information or display unwanted advertisements, ransomware goes straight for your wallet. It will scan for all files of a certain type on your computer and make them completely unusable unless you pay their ransom fee. All of your documents, speadsheets, pictures, PDFs, and more are affected by this. If you have a mapped network drive, USB stick, or external hard drive plugged in to the computer it will lock any files on there as well. This means that even if you do back up your data, you might still be at risk.

So how can you avoid getting infected in the first place? Unfortunately, no software will protect you 100%. While we recommend running the paid version of Malwarebytes and quality antivirus software such as Microsoft Security Essentials, the best defense is smart browsing habits. Never open e-mail attachments from people you don't trust. Quite often these e-mails will appear to be bank transfers, resumes, package notifications, or coupons. Even if the e-mail is from someone you know, don't open the attachment if it looks suspicious. When in doubt, call them first!