Ransomware & You!

Hey Everyone!

I am pretty busy today, which is a good thing! We have a new couple of interns and other things going on today. It is keeping me really busy.

I wanted to talk about something that is in the news often and more currently today. Ransomware! What is it? How do people fall into traps? What can you do if you fall victim?

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If you want to read and see about the newest ransomware attack check the Wiki here! It is some pretty crazy stuff. The professional that was vigilant and doing his job, has a blog about how he essentially stopped it, you can read that here! It is really awesome, may be a bit hard to understand though. You can also see here on this map how crazy fast and far it spread. To see that click this link!

Ransomware, what is it? By definition it is: “A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.” Scary huh? In other words it is malware, that can stop your computer from working until you pay up! It can be hard to get rid of after the fact. It has become more of a prevent issue since 2005 and no out numbers data breaches, each year.

You may wonder how people fall into traps? Shouldn’t it be common sense to not do certain things, that seem fishy? Well, yes, but these traps can be very elaborate. Some times they are disguised as FBI warrants, with seals and everything (see below). Other times they can come in emails. Not just any emails, but ones from people you know. They can injected files and scripts into emails from hijacked accounts. Once you click on a document sent by “your friend” it can trigger events to lock down your PC and your goose is cooked. So not everything out there is suspicious, they do a great job of hiding in plain sight.

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What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Use and keep our anti-virus, ad malware software up to date.
    • If money is an issue I love AVG for anti virus, and it is free to home users.
    • For malware, I suggest Malwarebytes. It is also free to home users, but you have to remember to scan your device. If you pay for premium service you can set it up to scan for you.
    • Those two things are your best friends. Remember not to have more than one anti-virus software on your machine. There is the possibility that they will cancel each other out, and not work at all.
  • You have to be smart and recognize what is real and what isn’t.
    • Do not interact with spammy emails, just delete them if you aren’t sure.
    • Avoid sites that you aren’t familiar with
      • If it looks sketchy, it probably is, just leave the site.
    • Don’t download things unless you know what it is.
    • Make sure that you keep your data backed up properly
      • If you are hit with an attack, know that your data is safe somewhere else.
    • Make sure that your PC is also up to date.
      • If there are patches or updates make sure that they are being installed. Don’t blow them off.

If all else fails, call me! haha But for real, get a hold of an IT professional if you can. Try to avoid Geek Squad and people who will rape you in inflated costs, if you can. In all honesty there is a decent chance that your machine won’t work again after these types of attacks, if left alone. It really depends on the code in the malware.

For example, part of the reason I am busy today is that We have a PC from another person, not from our company, who fell victim to an older type of ransomware. We are going to pick the PC up ad bring it here to try and fix it. We will do everything we can but there are no guarantees. It can be scary stuff, but if you know how to protect yourself and you browse wisely you have a better chance out there.

I hope this was useful to you. I hope you find the information somewhat interesting, and maybe even helpful sometime in the future. If you have questions or comments I would love to read them.

That’s all for now! See you tomorrow, stay safe. 😀 😀

 

 

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