Ransomware: A Serious Threat

Ransomware viruses can lock you out of your computer, rendering it
unusable without removing the offending malware .These types of infections
attempt to use a ‘social engineering’ approach, which is to say they count
on the user being misled by a fake message, and in turn paying money to
the bad guys to remove the virus (generally the virus will NOT be removed
in these cases).

Up until recently, these infections have been somewhat manageable in the
sense that the user’s personal data files are not affected or damaged.
A PC Geeks technician can remove the infection, preserve the
user’s personal files, and fix any damage that was made to Windows.

Cryptolocker is one of the latest variants of these so called Ransomware Viruses.
This virus takes the damage to another level by damaging, or more specifically,
encrypting files on the machine including personal files like pictures,
documents, music, and video files. In fact, Cryptolocker will infect any
external storage and networked drives as well. This means that any kind of
backup on an external hard disk or flash drive is vulnerable unless unplugged
completely from the infected computer.

The Cryptolocker virus is known to travel via fake email attachments. Some of the attachments may be labeled as USPS or FEDEX tracking attachments. The Windows operating system may be set to hide file extensions, so if a filename is given an extra ‘extension’, the user may be misled into thinking the item is a safe .pdf file instead of an .malicious exe file.

Be careful when performing Google searches. If you Google “QuickBooks Support” for example, you will see a few different sites advertising as QuickBooks. A quick glance will show various options for QuickBooks support, however the fine print, the actual “www.” addresses below the bold headlines, tells the real story. Most of these ‘imposter’ sites have full fledged phone support operations as well, often located overseas. Downloading software from these sites can result in one of the malware infections mentioned above.

We often see fake Java and Flash updates; these too can be avoided if the user is
aware that generally any kind of update prompts presenting from within the browser
has the possibility of being faked. Flash, Java, and Windows updates are important and must be maintained/installed regularly. This can be challenging for some users trying to decipher what prompts are actually legitimate. If in doubt, go to the website for the software vendor and do the update there. You may be surprised that you did not need to update anything at all! Be very careful what you click on. Your anti virus software may not protect you and the result can be catastrophic.

If you get these or any of the numerous other viruses infections that are out there, contact you local PC Geeks Technician where we can remove the infection fast so that you can safely surf the Internet once again!

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