The Ransomware Epidemic

Getting better at being bad

Another day at the office, or so you thought. As you're getting caught up on e-mail, you click an attachment from someone you recognize. Seconds later you are presented with a message that states that your system has been compromised, that your files are encrypted, and that you owe a Bitcoin ransom to reclaim your files. This is ransomware, and it is not joking.

How can this be? You have anti-virus software! The answer is increasingly sophisticated criminals and software. Just before the ransomware encrypted your files, it disabled your anti-virus program. And yes, your files really are encrypted. For that matter, the encryption code may also be encrypted. What does that mean? Sadly, in most instances you cannot get them back without paying. That is unless you have a backup.

Thankfully for you, you read this first! So what do you do to protect yourself? In short, keep your software up to date, do not click any attachment that you are not certain is safe, and have multiple data backups. When in doubt, use the 3-2-1 rule of three copies of your data in two formats with one being offsite. You may have to rebuild the computer, but that is always better than paying a ransom for your files.

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