Ransomware

ransome

What is Ransomware? If you can’t answer that question, that may be a very good thing.  Why would I say that? I’ll tell you why, dealing with it can be a nightmare…even for IT professionals.

Ransomware is malware (malicious software) that criminals 9that’s right, hackers, that’s what you are…you scallywags!)  install on your computer. It’s a type of virus that they use to gain access to your computer can lock it from a remote location.

This rascal freezes your computer and generates a window that requires you to pay a fee to regain access to your computer’s files. This type of ransomware has been around a while and is well-known therefore most anti-virus software should provide protection against these programs. However, hackers are a crafty lot and, like the Keebler elves, work when you aren’t looking.

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A new threat is emerging it calls itself “CryptoLocker”.Rather than simply freezing your computer, it encrypts every single one of your files. Every single ding dang file:

–          Installed programs

–          Images

–          Documents.

Decryption is easy as long as you have a copy of the key, but unfortunately it isn’t stored on your computer. In fact, it’s stored remotely on the hacker’s server, and there is currently not a way to unlock a computer that has been infected without paying the fee.

Now you know why I call’em scallywags.

When you try to unlock the computer this results in a “destruction of the private key on the server,” which means you can no longer unlock the encrypted data on your computer even if you do pay the ransom fee.

As of today you are looking at a fee of $300 US give or take a few dollars. Usually there is a time limit given before they destroy your data forever, three days to pay up.

CryptoLocker can sometimes go many days undetected. In this time, it scrambles your computer files in the background and identifying you and your computer to those who are running the software. Once it’s done with that, it locks your computer and begins the three day countdown.

Ransomware is usually installed when you click on a bogus email attachment or when you click a malicious link in an email message/instant message/social networking site or other website. The virus can even be installed when you visit a website set up by the hackers to appear legitimate, but with the sole purpose of gain access to unsuspecting people.

Bottom line is this, this is a game changer in the IT world and we all have to up our awareness and diligence in order to avoid this Nasty. I recommend working closely with your trusted IT professional. If yu don’t have one give us a call and we can get your started down the road to safe computing.

Y’all have a great day.

cigar

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