My partner has just recevied this from work and I thought it was worth sharing.
Christmas is a time when lots of bogus emails appear, about so called scams that will attempt to relieve you of lots of money (No! not Christmas shopping!!!)
However, there are lots of real threats out there, the latest is called ‘Ransom ware’.
This latest threat should NOT be ignored, as the damage done to files is permanent (unless you pay the ransom).
This latest threat infects PC’s via a ‘Trojan horse’ – a piece of software disguised as a legitimate program.
Once downloaded, it flags up a message on screen that files are being changed and that to undo these changes you need to ‘wire transfer’ money (usually about £70 but this may vary) in order to get the decryption software to get your files back.
This type of attack is not unusual, what IS unusual is the level of encryption applied to your files by the Trojan.
The level of encryption used, means that it is almost impossible to decrypt the infected files without the above key, which you have to pay for.
The sort of files encrypted are, all office files, photo’s (JPG’s etc), system files etc.
Some simple ways to protect yourself:-
Use the latest Browser software and make sure site advisor is switched on if available (in other words DON’T go to dodgy sites)
Make sure your firewall (there is one in Windows and in your Broadband Router) is switched on
Make sure your Anti Virus software is ALWAYS up to date (most do this automatically, check this is the case)
Whatever Web Browser you use, TURN ON ‘Pop up Blocker’ as this is one of the primary routes for Trojan’s.
Be CAREFUL about what you download.
Be CAREFUL about opening emails – think! Why has someone sent you an email with an attachment!!!
Be CAREFUL about what sites you visit
BACKUP your important files, Photo’s etc – portable USB drives are very cheap these days (just remember NOT to have it plugged in and working all the time, only when you want to backup files)
You may also want to consider backing up your system drive (usually C: ) – this is a little more time consuming and need specialist software (don’t forget to make the recovery disk, you may need it)
Windows restore point, is NOT good enough…..
Finally, if you do get infected and see the message demanding payment – SWITCH YOUR COMPUTER OFF IMMEDIATLEY (pull the power plug if necessary)
The quicker you do this, the less files will be affected.
You now need to consult a computer specialist to remove the Trojan to prevent further damage, the files that have already been infected are gone for good unless….(you DID back up your files didn’t you?)