Tuesday Tech Tip, November 5, 2013 Print
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 19:36

Important!! Please Read!!



This one is important people.  I love to send you all the latest and greatest in all things tech – but this one IS IMPORTANT.

This is about Ransomware.  Don’t roll your eyes, I’m serious – there is a big one out there called CryptoLocker and it is a Trojan horse.  You know the story of the Trojan horse right?  It looked like a big giant horse-statue-present, but really it’s filled with tons of soldiers who are going to jump out and slaughter you?  Yeah, think that, but with computers.

CryptoLocker likes to pretend it’s a little innocent email from a totally legitimate company.  And look, it has this helpful little attachment, like a pdf or a zip.  Now, if you aren’t on my tech tips, you might be willing to open this little horse present – but wham – now you have launched the executable! The .exe has been hidden in the harmless file and is now ravaging your computer files and the network drives mounted on it!  WORSE – it ENCRYPTS YOUR FILES!!  It even starts this mean little clock, counting down how long you have to pay some random internet site until it encrypts your files forever.  Your Microsoft Office files and OpenDocument files will be hit the worst!

And what do the antivirus gurus say about it?  "In some cases, it may be possible to recover previous versions of the encrypted files using System Restore or other recovery software used to obtain 'shadow copies' of files," according to an advisory by anti-virus firm Malwarebytes.  So basically, once the files are corrupted, they are gone – and if you don’t have a good back up to restore those files, they are gone forever.

So again – you are your best antivirus!!  Do not open email attachments from people you don’t know.  Not even if they look like the most legitimate company in the world – you don’t know them and you don’t know what they are sending you.  ALSO, don’t treat backing up your computer like a chore that you would rather skip.  Backups are your friend;  they are worth the effort!  Please, for your own sake, understand that this rascal does not have an undo button.  It will imprison your files and demand money for their release – so BE SMART while you are out there.

Wikipedia has a great write up of this particular gremlin. Please read more if you are interested, but above all be your own antivirus and make good decisions about what you are opening.