Your Money or Your Data!

Ransomware is still a huge problem, according to recent reports. Ransomware is a particularly nasty type of virus that encrypts all your documents, photos, and other personal files, then attempts to extort money from you to decrypt them again.

Law enforcement officials usually say not to pay the ransom, for two reasons: First, it encourages the criminals to conduct even more attacks, and second, there is no guarantee they will come through with the decryption key anyway. You might pay your money and never get your files back.

The best weapon against ransomware is prevention. I’ll say again what has been said many times before: DO NOT open attachments in unsolicited emails!! Even if they promise naked celebrity pictures (Especially if they promise naked celebrity pictures)!

DO NOT even click links in unsolicited emails – not even the “unsubscribe” link. Banish them to your Junk folder without a reply or a click.

DO have, and use, a good backup plan for your data. A good plan is one that enables versioning. This means that several versions of your files are saved so that you can go back to a clean, unencrypted version. I use and recommend Crashplan. They have free ways to back up your data, or for a small annual fee, they’ll back your stuff up to their secure servers.

DO keep your system up-to-date, including your antivirus and other software. If you don’t have antivirus, get some! A good free one is AVG Free.

Some ransomware has been cracked by the good guys, but since such things are constantly evolving, don’t count on ever seeing your stuff again if you fall victim.

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