Ransomware Attacks: A Comprehensive Guide to Reporting and Prevention

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Ransomware Attacks: A Comprehensive Guide to Reporting and Prevention

In the digital age, cyber threats have become a significant concern for individuals, businesses, and governments worldwide. Among these threats, Ransomware Attacks have emerged as a particularly insidious form of cybercrime. This article provides a comprehensive Guide to understanding, Reporting, and preventing Ransomware Attacks.

Understanding Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts a victim’s files. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data upon payment. Users are shown instructions for how to pay a fee to get the decryption key. The costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, payable to cybercriminals in Bitcoin.

Types of Ransomware

Ransomware can be categorised into three types:

  • Scareware: This is a rogue security software and tech support scams. You might receive a pop-up message claiming that a myriad of issues have been discovered on your computer and demand payment to fix them.
  • Screen lockers: Upon starting your computer, a window pops up, often accompanied by an official-looking FBI or US Department of Justice seal saying illegal activity has been detected on your computer and you must pay a fine.
  • Encrypting ransomware: This is the truly nasty stuff. These are the advanced ransomware threats that encrypt your files and demand payment to decrypt and redeliver.

Notable Ransomware Attacks

Several high-profile Ransomware Attacks have occurred in recent years, demonstrating the significant threat that this type of cybercrime poses.


In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack affected more than 200,000 computers across 150 countries. The attack targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding Bitcoin payments to decrypt it. The attack caused billions of dollars in damages, affecting various sectors including healthcare, telecommunications, and logistics.


In June 2017, a month after WannaCry, the NotPetya ransomware attack occurred. It initially targeted Ukraine but quickly spread globally. NotPetya was more destructive than WannaCry, causing more than $10 billion in damages. It disrupted numerous organisations, including shipping company Maersk and pharmaceutical giant Merck.

Reporting Ransomware Attacks

If you become a victim of a ransomware attack, it’s crucial to report the incident to the appropriate authorities. In the UK, you should report Ransomware Attacks to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime Reporting centre. You can also report the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if personal data has been compromised.

Ransomware Attacks: A Comprehensive Guide to Reporting and Prevention

Preventing Ransomware Attacks

While the threat of ransomware is significant, there are several steps that individuals and organisations can take to protect themselves.

Regularly Update and Patch Systems

Many Ransomware Attacks exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software. Regularly updating and patching your systems can help to protect against these attacks.

Use Reliable Security Software

Having reliable security software installed on your devices can provide an additional layer of protection against Ransomware Attacks. This software can detect and block malicious software before it can infect your system.

Backup Important Data

Regularly backing up your data can help to mitigate the damage caused by a ransomware attack. If your files are encrypted by ransomware, you can restore them from a backup instead of paying the ransom.

Ransomware is often spread through phishing emails or malicious websites. Be wary of any emails or links that seem suspicious, and avoid clicking on them.


Ransomware Attacks pose a significant threat in the digital age, causing substantial damage to individuals and organisations worldwide. Understanding the nature of these attacks, knowing how to report them, and taking steps to prevent them can help to mitigate this threat. By staying informed and vigilant, we can protect ourselves and our data from these insidious cyber threats.