Late one winter’s evening as the dim streetlights fade beneath the snowfall, you’ve been asked to walk home from your friend’s house. You’ve been getting a lot of presents lately as the holiday season is upon you and you’re excited to go home. The call sounded like your mom, so you had no reason to think it wasn’t time to go home.

 

You walk down the dimly lit road only to get home and find your house locked and your keys no longer open the door. Now you’re cold, no one is actually home, and it’s snowing too hard for you to get back to your friend’s house. There are no neighbors home and all their homes are locked as well. You see someone in a mask inside your house, they tell you  to get in you need to pay them, or they’ll take all your stuff and destroy it. They might even take pictures of all you have and post it on social media for your friends to see your thimble collection.

 

This is a scary story but similar to what happens with ransomware. Ransomware is a software like those on your computer, tablet etc., and is used by bad people for bad reasons. It’s often the sport of trying to get easy money with little to no effort. They scare and threaten you to make you feel as if you have to give them what they want. Of course you can, but the better bet is to ensure you have good copies of your pictures and the things  important to you, and know even if everything is destroyed, you can get it back or you can protect yourself with special tools and training. Nothing is perfect, but we should do all we can to protect ourselves. Never tell strangers where you live, or about your important information. Unless you see your parent, do not believe strangers if they tell you your parents said so. Be smart and know your parents would never ask you to do something dangerous like walk home a dimly lit street at night in the snow.

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