Computer Kidnapping: Ransomware and Crypto-Viruses

Ransomware and Crypto-Viruses

As technology continues to grow and make our lives easier, ruthless hackers are evolving their methods to make our lives miserable, and to relieve our pockets of our hard earned cash.

Two new methods of computer terrorism have become very popular; ransomware and crypto-viruses. While they are similar, there are some differences you need to know.

Ransomware is usually designed to either completely disable your computer, or make the files inaccessible. Crypto-viruses, on the other hand, will encrypt files on your computer. Either one will either partially, or more likely, totally disable your computer.

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Ransomware can be delivered to your computer by two different methods. Email is the usual route for the installation of this kind of malware. You will receive an email with an attachment that can be called whatever the hacker thinks will get you to take action. It will have titles like “your receipt,” “your refund,” or “your winnings.” Anything they can come up with to get you to open that attachment and release the virus into your system.

The second method of ransomware installation is, believe it or not, by way of telephone. The hacker will call and present him or herself as an employee of a company like Microsoft, Dell, or a major computer company. They will pass off the call as proactive technical support, and actually talk you through the installation of the malware.

Crypto-viruses are usually only spread by email. Again, it's an attachment. The bad thing about both crypto-viruses and ransomware is that a lot of times, the infected email will come from a trusted source. A friend, a trusted co-worker. The reason for this is that part of the virus' programming is self-replication. Once it is successfully latched onto a computer, it corrupts the mailbox and sends copies of itself to each and every contact on the list.

So, how do you protect yourself, and everyone on your contact list? It's as simple as a case of suspicion. If you receive an email with an attachment, ALWAYS treat it with suspicion. For a little more detail, check out our blog post on the subject.

If you receive a proactive tech call, you have a few options. First, and safest, just don't take the call. If you decide to take the call, request a call back number. This step will foil most hackers as they won't want to give you a legitimate phone number. If they won’t give you a call back number, hang up.

Some of the bolder ones will, however, give you a number. Before you allow anyone remote access, or install anything, call us here at Advantage Technology, and get our opinion on the situation. It'll only cost you a minute, and it could it save you a bundle.

Do yourself a favor. Backing up your computer needs to become a habit. The more often you back up your computer, the easier it will be to keep your files safe, and be able to reset your computer with minimal hassle. Look into Advantage Technology’s data backup and recovery solutions for automatic backups.

If you've already been hacked, fear not! There is help available. Call us here at Advantage Technology. We have experience dealing with ransomware. Worst case scenario, we can help you navigate the pitfalls of paying the ransom to these electronic thugs.