Welcome to real bytes. Here you’ll find articles from real computer repair technicians that give you real tips and hints on how to maintain and improve your technology experience. We aim to write helpful articles in easy to understand language based on real life experience from our computer repair Melbourne specialists and technicians.
Today we’ll focus on the very real threat of Ransomware and why it is vital that you should be aware of such a threat and take preventative measures against this new type of virus.
Ransomware is what it sounds like – Imagine someone important to you being kidnapped and held for ransom. Well in the cyber world, Ransomware locks up your precious data and unless a ransom of money is paid, your data is locked up forever.
Your important and valued data such as word documents, excel spreadsheets, pdf documents, photos, videos and sometimes business related data such as MYOB or Quickbooks data can be affected. These data files are encrypted with a high level digital lock that prevents you from opening the file unless you have the correct code. It’s like putting all your valuables into a very secure safe and unless you have the correct combination code or key, you won’t be able to access the valuables in the safe.
Firstly, the best thing you can do now is to change the way you use the internet – especially emails. The Ransomware virus – commonly known as Cryptolocker is usually transmitted through attachments in emails. The virus needs to be activated on your computer and this is done usually by the user opening an attachment from an email. The email looks like it comes from a very authentic source and usually incites some form of emotional response such as excitement, fear or curiosity. The end user usually feels excited, afraid or curious and fails to stop to think about the attachment he or she is actually opening. Some examples of such emails to look out for are emails relating to Australia Post informing you that you have a missed parcel, and you have to open an attachment to view your pick up details or Governmental Traffic Enforcement Agencies informing you of an infringement, and requiring you to open an attachment to view and settle that infringement. These are just some examples of fake emails that prompt an emotional response from you so that you react without properly processing through what you are doing. If you receive such emails, we highly recommend that you immediately delete such emails as important notifications from authentic agencies are always sent by traditional post as opposed to electronic emails.
If you still want to open the attachment but are unsure of the authenticity of the content, always check first before opening. For example, you can give your local post office a call to check if you really do have a parcel waiting for you, or call your local governmental office to verify the infringement notice. Always dial numbers which you’ve found yourself, rather than phone numbers from the suspicious email. You can always one of our experienced computer repair technicians on 1300 600 670 and we would be more than happy to answer your questions immediately. Remember, If in doubt, it pays to ask first before opening an attachment.
The next thing you should do is run a daily backup of your data. This is an extremely important habit that every computer user must develop. It is much easier and much more cost effective for a computer repair technician to restore your data from a current backup than it is to perform expensive data recovery procedures for lost or damaged data.
Firstly, don’t panic. The virus requires your computer to be turned on for the encryption or locking procedure to occur. If you’ve opened a suspicious email attachment and suddenly realised what you’ve done, simply shut down your computer immediately. You can give an experienced computer repair technician a call to help you with a virus check or if you know how to perform your own security scan, you can restart your computer in safe mode to perform the scan. We would highly recommend that you are not connected to the internet during this time as this can also activate the virus. Once the virus or malware has been removed, you can restore your data from a backup or sometimes Windows has made a previous version of the infected file or folder which you can restore from.