There’s nothing worse than booting up your computer, only to discover that it’s been infected with ransomware. Ransomware consists of a form of malware that’s designed to lock files so that you are unable to access them. As the name suggests, it will essentially hold your files for ransom. When you attempt to access a file, a pop-up screen will appear asking you to pay the ransom.

Ransomware has become increasingly common. Statistics show that there were 300 million ransomware attacks in 2020. If you’ve been the victim of a ransomware attack, however, there are several steps you take to recover from it.

Quarantine the Infection

You should start by quarantining the infection. There are different types of ransomware. Depending on the specific type that’s infecting your computer, it may spread to other computers and devices on the same network. Therefore, you should quarantine the infection by disconnecting your computer from the internet as well as the Wi-Fi.

Report to Law Enforcement

While this won’t necessarily eliminate or otherwise resolve the ransomware infection, you should report it to law enforcement. Microsoft specifically recommends that all victims of ransomware attacks notify law enforcement. Doing so will allow them to investigate the attack and potentially bring the perpetrator to justice.

Evaluate the Damage

Now it’s time to evaluate the damage. Different types of ransomware cause different types of damage. Nonetheless, they are all designed to block access to files. If the ransomware attack is minor, you may be able to access some of your files but not others. You should evaluate the damage by determining which files you can and can’t access.

Run Antivirus Software

With a little luck, running antivirus software may remove the ransomware infection from your computer. Ransomware is malware. Antivirus software, of course, can remove many common types of malware. Fire up your computer’s antivirus software and run a full system scan. If it detects any malware, it may offer the option to remove it.

Restore With a Backup

Most cases of ransomware attacks will require restoration with a backup. Even if the antivirus software removes the ransomware, some of your files may still be encrypted. And unless you have the encryption key, you won’t be able to access them. Fortunately, you can restore your computer’s files with a backup. Using a backup will essentially roll back your computer to the date on which the backup was created.