Australians are dealing with some ransomware that’s hitting many computers in that country and causing victims to empty their pockets. Ransomware is usually injected via email into the victims computer where the program then takes over the entire system, locking the victim completely out. Newer versions of ransomware (dubbed Cryptolocker) also threaten to destroy all your files, photos, music etc. if a fee is not paid to restore control of your system to you. The hackers generally ask for payment through untraceable means such as MoneyPak and Bitcoin which they can use to make other online purchases without being traced.
IT technician Josh Lindsay said he had been repairing computers for 15 years but the current form of the virus was “unbreakable”. “It’s definitely the worst I have come across,” he said.
Watch this video from Trend Micro showing exactly how Ransomware takes over your computer from email to execution.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said there’s been a spike in the number of people reporting the ransomware. They have taken almost 2,500 complaints of the malware and victims have paid $400,000 to the hackers to get control of their computers.
“Individuals, companies, not-for-profits, organisations of all kinds have paid and it’s a sad state of affairs that so many people do feel the need to pay because they don’t have good enough cyber security protections,”
Users should be very careful when opening emails and attachments to better protect themselves and they should have backups ready in case this does happen to them. We would recommend you backup your computer at least once a week if you’re doing a lot of file changing, saving and uploading and at least once a month if you’re a less heavy user. If you’re really paranoid, backing up everyday probably isn’t a bad idea.
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