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Arm Yourself with Knowledge

You start brainstorming your next steps.


First things first: you need to get informed. You quickly pull out your smartphone (which is working fine, unlike your laptop). You start searching for info about ransomware. Each article, forum post, and testimonial leads you down a rabbit hole of cybersecurity tips, but some common advice begins to emerge.


You decide to take a few immediate actions:


  1. Disconnect your infected laptop from the internet, but don’t power it down.

  2. From another device, check if you have any backups of your files.

  3. Contact a knowledgeable friend or IT professional for help.


Following the guidance, you disconnect your laptop from Wi-Fi. The ominous screen demanding ransom is still there, but at least you feel a bit more control. From your phone, you check if you can get to your Google Drive.


You can.


Your password still works, which is great. Remembering the articles, you change it immediately. Google asks: “Would you like you sign out of any other devices that are currently logged in?”


“Heck yeah I would,” you think to yourself.


This additional win gives you back a shred of the confidence that was shattered by this attack. You scan through your Google Drive and see that your personal Gmail and photos are all still there and backed up. So are all of the files from your volunteer work.


“OK, let’s check my Microsoft OneDrive.”


After some clunky steps to log into your OneDrive from your phone, which you have never done before, you hope it had been backing up your laptop. You don’t remember setting up backups, but maybe Microsoft did it automatically?


Thanks, Bill Gates. Your My Documents folder was backing up! All of the files you were working on for that important project are still there. Another win.


You quickly change your Microsoft password.


Now that you checked your backups, you recall the advice to ask a professional for help.

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