Don’t be held ransom
Many of us are all too familiar with viruses that infect our computers. We load our systems up with antivirus protection and hope we only get hit with known varieties. There is however a growing threat in the digital world…it’s called ransomware. Many people in the general public have yet to hear about this threat, but they soon may, as the popularity, and financial gain for criminals, of this attack is growing.
Essentially, a computer user opens something they shouldn’t….an email or clicks on a link they shouldn’t and suddenly you and your system are instantly trapped, ensnared by cyber criminals. Your system shuts down, is held hostage for ransom, and you receive a message on your screen that says in one form or another…..’pay up or lose it all’. You have been trapped by ransomware. Probably the most heard about version is Cryptolocker. Once in your system, Cryptolocker encrypts your data and will only release it to you if you pay a….ransom. Payment is usually in bitcoin.
You can attempt to pay and then trust your data will be released, or you can try and fight it. Some ransomware will not run in safe mode. You can try restarting you computer in ‘safe mode’ and if you are lucky you system will return. There are other methods, some a tad complex, but you can give them a try. Of course you will need a second computer to locate the directions on the Internet!
The best way to avoid this vicious attack is to never, ever, open emails from people you don’t know…and think twice before you click on a link that may take you to a very nasty place. You can also consider using ‘AppLocker’ or possibly disabling the legacy run list as preventative measures. There are numerous suggestions on the Internet to forestall ransomware from infecting your system….check them out before you get that dreaded screen warning.
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