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Hackers and Ransom Demands - Don't get caught!

Hackers and Ransom Demands – Don’t get caught!

“RansomWeb” is malicious software such as Cryptolocker (now shut down), CryptoDefense, CryptoWall, etc. that enable hackers to take over your computer and change the encryption keys needed to your computer system running.

You wake up one morning to the following message “Your files are encrypted. To regain access to your files you need to pay US $500.00 within seven days, if not paid the demand will increase to US $1500.00.

Description: CryptoLocker 2.0

Your computer will be locked and access to your files, databases, etc. encrypted until you pay their demand.

Recovery takes from several days to weeks, resulting in the loss of critical data.

Typical demands range from US $500.00 to $1500.00, with large organisations often facing demands of $5000 or more.

The latest malware is targets small to medium size businesses and will persistently attack the business through successive email campaigns hoping to catch you when you guard is down.

Law enforcement finds it hard to stop these attacks, even if they identify the source, as attacks usually originate from foreign countries, such as Russia, Eastern Europe and China, where foreign governments are reluctant to cooperate with our law enforcement agencies, such as the AFP.

What can you do?

  1. Do daily backups using an independent drive such as a portable drive and/or use an offsite drive such as a cloud account.
  2. Use strong passwords for all user accounts and delete inactive accounts.
  3. Delete emails with addresses that you do not recognise, or that look odd.
  4. Don’t open attachments from senders you do not know are legitimate.
  5. Banks, government departments, phone companies, etc., do not send vital information, forms, or access links as attachments in emails. So don’t open links such as “Update your account details here”.
  6. Watch out for emails containing the following in the subject line: Traffic offense notice; Payment rejection notice; Account locked notice; Tax demands, etc..
  7. Do not click on links pointing to active forms requesting you to update account information or confirm your details, for example “Your Outlook session has expired, please login to continue”
  8. Only click on a link if you recognise the senders email address. Particularly watch for mis-spellings, odd variations in the organisations name, address, country identifiers not familiar to you, or from Hotmail accounts.
  9. Ensure anyone using your computer is aware of issues, particularly associated with opening email attachments.
  10. If you feel your password has been hacked, change your password for all accounts using that password, including all email accounts, bank accounts, investment accounts, credit card, etc.
  11. Finally if you are attacked you may need to react quickly to save your data, and you only saviour may be meeting their demand within the time specified.

Article © 2015 by mike@nowtechnologysystems.com.au

Read “US Today” article: “Hackers ramp up computer attacks that demand 'ransom”


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