Like the name implies, this type of virus not only encrypts and holds hostage your critical data, but also demands a ransom be paid to decrypt the infected files.    Getting this virus, which comes in many variants, can cripple a business or home user.

Here are some steps to take to prevent catastrophe:

First:  Backup your data daily.  If you do not already have a backup plan, create one.

Second:  Never visit sites that are questionable, click on ads that are suggestive or curious, such as “Stars then and now.”  Just say No to invitations in e-mail or suspicious links.

Third:   Patch and Block.  Running updates to Java, Flash and OS to get the latest security patches that will help “fill the gap” where a virus can infiltrate.

Fourth:  If you get an infection, STOP AND TURN OFF THE COMPUTER!  Do NOT finish an e-mail, document or other entry.  Just stop what you are doing and shutdown to prevent further damage.  Disconnect from the internet by unplugging the modem and router to prevent spreading the virus over the office network (both wired and wireless).

Call for help.  If you have followed the above, the damage may be limited and the cost may be far less than if you ignore the virus and keep working.  Finally, consider setting up a Business Continuance Plan.  For more information on that,  click on Search and enter Business Continuance.