Something fishy?
Report fraud to us between 09.00 and 17.00 Monday to Friday
02 Jan 2017
Don’t let your data get hijacked

What is ransomware?

Ransomware, also known as scareware, is malicious software that enables criminals to restrict access to your computer (and sometimes your smartphone or tablet) and encrypt your files remotely. Next, they will ask that a substantial fee is paid to unlock the files. You will only regain access to them if you pay the ransom.


How to protect yourself from ransomware?

Click on these buttons for more information.


Make regular back-ups Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date Be aware of the danger


Your files are locked – what to do now?


Tip 1 Stay calm. The criminals who have infected your computer with ransomware will up the pressure – don’t let then stress you out.
Tip 2 Disconnect your computer from the internet and remove any external hard drives or USB sticks still connected to your computer. This may help prevent the virus from spreading further.
Tip 3 Do not pay any ransom. You have no guarantee that you will regain access to your files when you pay up. Moreover, paying a ransom may encourage the criminals and sustain the problem.
Tip 4 Go to for a decryption key. If there is no key for the type of ransomware that has infected your computer, try again in a few weeks. The site is frequently updated.
Tip 5 If doesn’t offer you any helpful information, you may want to contact a computer expert in your area.
Tip 6 Report to Fraud Help Desk by telephone (+31)(0)88-786 73 72 or through our special form.


How to make back-ups?


Each day, many computers around the world are infected by ransomware. So, brace yourself for the day when your computer will be hit. Take precautions, such as making regular back-up copies of your files. This will significantly reduce the impact of any ransomware infection that may occur.

Making a solid back-up is very important. A computer expert can use these back-up files to replace the encrypted documents on your infected computer. This will give you back access to your pictures, without having to having to pay any money to criminals.

The Netherlands Consumers’ Association has published an online roadmap for making exact back-up copies.

How to keep your anti-virus software up to date?


Good anti-virus software will reduce the risk of ransomware infection. It will constantly keep a watchful eye on what is happening on your computer and detect any virus in time, before it can infect your PC.

Of course, you will need to run regular updates of your anti-virus software. Ransomware will try to exploit any opportunity offered by outdated software. In the meantime, these vulnerabilities may have been sealed in the most recent updates. Computer users will only be able to benefit fully from their anti-virus software if they have the most recent update. If they don’t, they will leave the door open for the latest versions of ransomware.


How do computers get infected?

In order to be able to protect yourself against ransomware, it is important to know where and how the ransomware can strike. Criminals can use several ways to lock your computer and hijack your data.

The most common ransomware infection is through malicious attachments to spammed emails. The malicious software is often hidden in a file that looks like an invoice.

Visiting compromised websites can also cause ransomware infections. These sites can be set up in such a way that any visit to them will automatically start a file download. Sometimes, cyber criminals succeed in infecting ads on legitimate websites with ransomware. In short, a simple visit to any website can cause a ransomware infection.