Ransomware takes your computer hostage
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|Wed, 06-18-2014 - 4:08pm|
Criminals can now take computers hostage, threatening to wipe out all files if the victims don’t pay up.
No masked men are involved. Instead, the perpetrator is ransomware, viruses that infect computers and demand a ransom of hundreds of dollars to access the files again.
The most famous example is Cryptolocker, a virus that was delivered a serious blow earlier this month when several security firms and the U.S. Department of Justice teamed up to arrest several people allegedly involved in the scam. The FBI identified Evgeniy Mikhailovitch Bogachev, a Russian national whose whereabouts remain a mystery, as the mastermind.
While that threat has been "largely mitigated," there are others ready to take its place, according to Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at CrowdStrike — one of the firms that helped nearly take Cryptolocker down.
Just last week, Meyers told NBC News, he purposely infected his computer with Cryptowall to see what would happen. The result: It demanded $500 if he ever wanted to see his files again, and gave him 200 hours to cough up the money in bitcoins. The "ransom" grew to $1,000 once the deadline got closer. (It even had a "help" section with instructions on how to pay).
This is really kind of scary. I'm not backing up to the cloud, but have multiple external backups. How do you guys protect yourselves?