Several people have come in lately with issues that are related to ransomware attacks. These Internet pirates are trolling the web and may try to hold your data hostage. These come in several guises–some say they are Microsoft, others claim to be the FBI–they all try to get you to pay a ransom to remove viruses from your computer or to corrupt your data unless you pay them.
If you are hacked or get one of these messages disconnect from the internet immediately and bring your computer into WynWay so we can wipe your hard drive. Resist paying any ransom and file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. This is tough because if you don’t pay them by the deadline they will destroy your decryption codes (which unlocks the files) making data irretrievable. This is why you should disconnect your computer immediately.
How ransomware attacks work: After you click on an infected ad, email attachment or website, hackers access your computer via malicious software (malware), encrypting or locking or blocking access to files, even photos and videos. The ransom demand comes from what appears to be “the FBI” or a ransomware family like CryptoWall, CryptoLocker or CTB-Locker. Many hackers require payment– from hundreds to thousands of dollars–via Bitcoin, an untraceable virtual currency.
Ransomware strains have been around since before 2005 but incidents have really spiked over the past year. According to McAfee, attacks rose 165% in the first quarter of 2015. The FBI has named CryptoWall responsible for over $18 million in reported ransomware losses between April 2014 and June 2015. Yet, many people have never even heard of the term ransomware.
The fake Microsoft version usually pops up and tells you that your computer is infected or your virus protection is out of date and gives you a number to call or button to click to take you to their website. This is not Microsoft and you should not call the number or click on it. It is a scam and you won’t get your money back if you pay them.
Be smart. Never open emails or attachments from unknown senders. Be careful clicking on ads. Enter a company’s website by their homepage. Download only from trusted sources and enable pop-up blockers and antivirus software with programs like McAfee or Symantec. Also, make sure you update your software to help protect you against new malware.
Back everything up on an external hard drive. Unplug the drive after backup because malware can hit any device connected to the computer. Don’t rely solely on cloud backups. If files sync automatically they can be compromised.
If you think you’ve been hacked or are receiving scam or ransomware messages call WynWay. We can help you get and keep your devices safe. At WynWay, we provide technology services to clients across the country while being locally owned and operated in Greencastle, Indiana. Feel free to stop into our office between 2:30 and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Our services include, but are not limited to:
Smart phone repair
Personal Monthly Tech Support
Business Monthly Tech Support
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