This information about preventing a ransomware attack has been provided by the New Zealand Computer Emergency Response Team.

Preventing a ransomware attack

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that denies a user access to their files or computer system unless they pay a ransom. Ransomware can target anyone, from individuals and small businesses to large organisations like government departments and hospitals.

Here’s what you can do to reduce the likelihood of a ransomware attack on your computer.

  • Always update your operating system and your apps when new versions are available. You can set this up to happen automatically with Windows and a lot of other applications like Office.
  • Make sure you back up your files regularly. This includes the files on your computers, phones and any other devices you have. You can:
    • do an ‘offline’ or ‘cold’ backup. Back up the data to an external hard drive and then remove the hard drive from your device
    • do a cloud backup to Dropbox or a similar online hosting service.
  • Install antivirus and anti-ransomware software on your computer if you don’t already have it, and update it regularly.
  • Install a firewall on your computer to stop traffic from untrustworthy sources getting into your computer.
  • Don’t enable macros in Microsoft Office.
  • If you have your own business, make sure you keep your support contracts — with your antivirus provider or your firewall provider for example — up to date.

This information has been provided by the New Zealand Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT NZ).

Report an incident

If you’ve been affected by ransomware, you can report the incident to CERT NZ:

Visit the CERT NZ website to find out how CERT NZ use the reporting information that they receive.

More information