One type of malware gaining in popularity is ransomware. How does it work?

Attackers gain access to your computer when you accidentally download malware, and then they hold your information hostage. The attackers may lock all your files or shut down your entire network, and they will require you to pay them to regain access. If files are important to you, make sure to back them up to external drives or a cloud server.

These attacks often focus on businesses and governments so watch out for suspicious emails at work! If it feels wrong, report it to IT. If you see a suspicious email in your personal account, mark it as spam (if possible) and delete the email without clicking on anything.

For those wanting to go more in-depth and build their own ransomware response plan check out IBM’s Definitive guide to ransomware: Readiness, response, and remediation



  • Perform a search for ransomware attacks in libraries. How many libraries can you find that have experienced attacks? Start here
  • Does your library have a plan in place for a ransomware attack? Connect with your IT department and ask these questions. If no plan exists, try to develop one. 
    • How will staff be contacted without access to email?
    • How will users be notified?
    • Does the library have a method to check out materials without access to the ILS?

Quick Tip

Regularly update your devices! Updates are often security patches. Your apps and software are only protected when you’re running the latest version.


The Rise of Ransomware Attacks