This is how hackers can take your data for ransom

Hackers broke into 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries in the latest cyberattack using ransomware.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Hackers broke into 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries in the latest cyberattack using ransomware.

The malicious software gives control of your computer to hackers, who lock the information and threaten to destroy it unless you pay a ransom.

Hackers usually embed the virus in an email attachment or an internet pop-up ad.  The virus also can be put on a computer by hackers who sneak through holes in your anti-virus software. 

RELATED: 'WannaCry' ransomware attack: What we know

How do you prevent yourself from becoming a ransomware victim?

Experts suggest four steps.

First, if you don’t have anti-virus software on your computer – get it.

Then, make sure it is updated with the latest security patches.

Third, create a back-up of your personal data and electronic files on an external hard drive that is not connected to the internet.

Above all – use caution and common sense when browsing on the internet and checking email.  Do not click on anything that looks suspicious.

If you do get ransomware on your computer, cybersecurity experts recommend immediately disconnecting your device from the internet.  That should help prevent the virus from spreading to other computers that may be connected to the same network. 

Also, call law enforcement and report the cyber crime.

Finally, get in touch with a data recovery specialist to see if your information is retrievable. 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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