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4 Signs of Ransomware on Your Computer

Cyber Security | October 28, 2022
system hacked notification on computer

While computers have become an invaluable part of our workplaces and daily lives, many threats can compromise their security and functionality. Knowing about these threats and how to combat them is crucial for keeping your computer and other devices safe and secure over time. When it comes to threats to your personal or work computer, ransomware is one of the most prominent and potentially damaging. As a leading provider of comprehensive cybersecurity services, the team at Next Hop Solutions knows how detrimental ransomware can be. That is why we have compiled a list of 4 signs of ransomware on your computer to help you recognize the signs before any lasting damage is caused.

Learn how to protect yourself against ransomware.

How to Tell if You Have Ransomware on Your Computer

It is crucial to recognize the signs of ransomware before it is too late. Your computer has likely been infected by ransomware if:

1. You are Locked Out or Cannot Sign In

If you are suddenly locked out of your computer and you do not remember changing your password, you may be dealing with ransomware known as lock screen ransomware. When this occurs, a splash screen will pop up when you attempt to sign in, preventing you from using the computer. This screen will often provide instructions on how to pay the ransom to regain access to the computer, another key sign that your device has been compromised.

2. Files Will Not Open

If you are suddenly unable to open individual files on the computer, you might be a victim of encryption ransomware. When trying to open an encrypted file, an error message will appear on the screen, telling you that the file cannot be opened and that the system needs to know which program to use to open the file. You will then be prompted to select a program from those already installed on the computer. If this occurs for common files that you have never had an issue opening before, ransomware is a likely cause.

3. Files with Missing or Odd Extensions

In most cases, files that have been encrypted by ransomware will be missing file extensions altogether or will have extensions ending with an unconventional extension. Files that have been encrypted will also display a blank icon for the file type rather than the logo of the program the file was created in or an image of the file’s contents.

4. You Have Received Ransom Instructions

Since the purpose of ransomware is for a hacker to hold your data for ransom, they will likely leave behind documents with information on how to pay them. Look for .txt or .html files on the computer that begin with an underscore that is followed by a clear message in capital letters. While you may be tempted to follow the instructions in this file and pay the ransom, this is rarely the best course of action. In most cases, it is best to contact a cybersecurity expert and law enforcement to help recover your data.

To learn more about our cybersecurity services or to inquire about our other managed IT solutions, get in touch with the team at Next Hop Solutions. We can be reached through our online contact form or by phone at 1-855-482-5141 and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services or your IT requirements.


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