Computer IT with Wayne Parkinson

Ransomware!!!!!

This is not new, but sadly it’s effectively doing the rounds again. Ransomware is a malicious email or attachment to an email that takes over and attacks your computer. It does so in such a way that you are not aware of it running quietly in the background.

The current ones encrypt thousands of your valuable data files. You know, all types of your documents, pictures, music, videos, pdf, accounting data and the list goes on. This truly is incredibly nasty stuff. Encryption means the file is jumbled and rendered useless to you unless you pay the ransom to have it unencrypted. Currently this is anywhere from $USD300 to 5,000.

 

You may get what looks like a legitimate email addressed to you by name (Yes – you are on a list somewhere probably captured from a multi forwarded email of jokes to all your mates) that has an attachment you are invited to open or a link to click on. First thing to do here is to check the incoming email address – do you know them? Is the last two letters nz or a combination you don’t recognise? Maybe deleting it now would be a good idea.

If the email includes a link to click on, wander your mouse over it (don’t click on it) and look at the bottom left of your email window to see where the link will take you. If you don’t recognise the web address, delete the email. If no web address shows up at bottom left, delete the email now as it will probably be part of the hack to not show where the link goes.

Rather than opening an attachment, try saving it first to allow you to check the file type. A lot of these hacks will use Java Script with and extension of js. This is programming language and can be used for good and bad things on your computer. Another file type doing the rounds is a Word document with Macros turned on. Macros are again a sort of programming language that is usually used inside Word, but again can be used for good or bad. Zip files can contain both of these file type inside them.

 

Precautions you should take.

Ensure that File Extensions are turned on in Windows Explorer. This is critical! By default File Extensions are turned OFF, giving you the idea that certain files are OK to open.

 

The current round of ransomware will also get into any other computer from your network connection or storage device attached to your computer USB port. Only attach your external backup drive at the time you are doing your backup.

 

I have said this many times – how recent is your most recent backup? Have you tested it?

 

Evening Computer Classes

Check out the upcoming sessions for the remainder of the year listed in this issue.

If you need help with this, or would just like to chat about your options, give me a call at 345-6098. To find out more about this, follow this link: http://www.abingdon.co.nz/insideeastside.html

 

Wayne Parkinson
Abingdon Computing Essentials – www.abingdon.co.nz
Phone – 345-6098
Contact Wayne for all your virus and computer fixes or training needs.