Ransom-ware – how to protect yourself (and your computer)

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This blog concerns the topic of what is known as “Ransomware”.

It is becoming a ever more prevalent annoyance that has been circulating around the internet. The devilish hackers behind it are attempting to extort money from common people.

Like its name implies, “Ransom-ware holds your computer hostage, subsequently demanding payment in order for the person to be able to boot or log into their computer again.”, says Eric Rainbolt, 4GoodHosting’s support manager. It goes onto a victim’s computer through unpatched software vulnerabilities to silently install itself, and sometimes through social engineering tactics too.

“Cryptolocker” is ransom-ware that can spread quickly through email a affects a person’s file that on drives that are mapped to a hard-drive (of SSD) using the drive letters D: , E, or F:. This can also include USB memory sticks, ext. hard drives, or from a network or cloud folder.

Paying the criminals, which we don’t advise, may or may not let you access to your system or your data back, but there have been plenty of cases where the ranson-ware’s decryption key isn’t emailed or when sent doesn’t even work.

Tens of thousands of machines have been affected in the past couple of years – after the ransom-ware pirates have sent millions of emails.

So what can be done about ransom-ware?