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What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that infects your system, personal or business data. You will receive an onscreen message that your files are now encrypted, with a demand for payment to restore access.

How they contact you

Generally, via an email containing a link or attachment, such as a word document or pdf. However malicious advertisements or websites can lead to infection of Ransomware.

What they're after

Cybercriminals are usually after payment to decrypt your files. If you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee they will unlock your files.

Who should I contact and examples of ransomware

John runs a small business with about 10 staff members. His account manager opened an attachment in an email containing an unpaid invoice from one of their suppliers. The file did not open when clicked on. Unfortunately, in the background, it infected their network with ransomware, including their backup files on a USB which was still connected to their computer.

The following day a message appeared on the screen advising their files had been encrypted and they had 72 hours to pay a ransom in crypto currency, otherwise all their customer and business files would be deleted forever.

Effectively locked out of their own system and files, the company was unable to operate.
John followed the scammers instructions and paid nearly $3,000 only to find they did not unlock his files.

John then hired specialists to recover as much of their data as possible. The impact on the day to day running of his business was significant.

Latest Scams

To stay in the loop, and stay protected, check out our list of the latest phishing scams impersonating Westpac.

Report a scam

If you receive any suspicious calls, emails or SMS messages, or notice unusual activity on your account, it’s important that you let us know.

Security Wellbeing Check

To help keep you up to date with the latest security features, we’ve introduced the Security Wellbeing Check. Found in the Westpac App, it checks your Westpac settings and suggests how you can improve the security of your banking facilities.

Things you should know

*Examples are based on one or more real scam reports received by Westpac. For privacy purposes real names have not been used.