When your Digital Life is Held to Ransom


Ransomware is a type of malware that will lock you out of your files, device, or other resources, and demand a payment to regain access.  Even if you choose to pay up, most often the payment will not result in gaining back access, and your files are permanently lost.

The threat posed by Ransomware is serious, and ongoing.  I last updated this article in September 2015, not long after Cryptolocker became the first widely reported Ransomware threat with thousands of infected computers and resulting in the loss of millions of dollars of data and production.  The problem has only increased in frequency and severity with a range of new variants attacking customers across PC and other platforms.

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Why are you logging in as God?

God_ComputerOK, not God, but the computer equivalent, the almighty Administrator.
Home computer users start up their computer and do stuff.  If you want to run a program, you can.  If you want to install a program, you can.  If you want to change some setting, you can.  Because this is how it has always been for most users, we think nothing of it and assume it’s normal.

We want to get things done so why would you restrict what can be done by the all powerful User.

It turns out there are good reasons.

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Fake Windows 10 Upgrade Email Installs Ransomware

We have noted a particularly nasty piece of Malware making the rounds.

An email, apparently from Microsoft, asks the user to open an attached executable, which will promptly encrypt your files.  The malware then tries to ransom the files.

For anyone without current and offline backups, take this warning as a reminder to review you backups, and ensure one set of backups offline. Malware like this can potentially see any attached backups such as on a external HDD, and encrypt those as well!

If you are not familiar with Ransomware, you may want to check out our article:

When your Digital Life is Held to Ransom