Ransomware- What it is, what it does and what you do about it

Ransomware, Bitcoin

Ransomware infections have literally exploded in the past year. Often coming through your email looking like an innocent UPS, Fedex or other email that you’d open without a second thought, Ransomware is a very real and very scary thing. BAM, a big screen pops up and tells you that your data has been locked (encrypted) and that unless you pay a specified amount, through Bitcoin, you will lose your data forever.

Are your files truly locked up and held hostage? Won’t some antivirus clean things up and restore your data for you? The simple

Ransomware, Bitcoin

answer here is no, there isn’t a magic cure after you’re infected. The trick here is to always ensure your data, pictures or whatever else is important to you is backed up. You’ll also want to ensure basic security measures have been taken like having a firewall turned on and updated, having your operating system updates current, and your antivirus software and definitions are current.

Computers across the globe have been infected with ransomware. Australian news media have reported on computers being infected on a large scale. Microsoft has long been at the forefront of the battle and has several posts and documents on how to protect yourself and your data. Anti-virus and security company Symantec has an excellent whitepaper on the topic that is a must read if you’re responsible for protecting computers and data, or simply want to be informed how to protect your own computers from infection. Even the U.S Government has a department called US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) and they provide mountains of data on these types of threats. Lastly, you can also review many articles through the ransomware Wikipedia page for more information.

The best advice anyone can give you is to stay current, stay informed, be prudent when opening emails or links from persons or websites you are unfamiliar with. The data you save might very well be your own.

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