Ransomware Viruses

Ransomware Viruses

We are seeing an increase in this type of computer compromise, so this month I thought that we should spend some time looking at ways in which you can protect yourself from this new and worrying form of virus.

Ok, so first let’s define what we are talking about – ransomware is a type of virus that will encrypt your files (documents, emails, pictures etc.) and then ransom you usually 100’s of euros to get them back. There is no reliable way to get your data back directly once it has been encrypted without paying the ransom. Paying up has two downsides, firstly you’re losing money and secondly in some cases you are handing over your credit card details to criminals.

We first wrote about this type of virus back in November 2013 and updated our article to give you advice on how you can actively protect yourself in a later article that same year…


…and although this advice is still valid the virus’ have moved on and become more sophisticated of course.

The latest version of this virus is called Locky and is usually installed because you have opened up one of those fake “invoice” emails – you know the one, you receive an email seemingly with an attached “invoice” and sometimes fall for it because it happens to coincide with a service that you may have recently purchased. You open the attachment and then realise it’s a scam and close it again. You think that its all ok because nothing has immediately happened. However, unbeknown to you, the virus is working away in the background encrypting all of your data, it may take it days to complete the job but when it has it then looks for other computers in your home to infect and encrypt – finally it places a file on your desktop with the ransom demand and then, well it’s too late.

So, what can you do? What I am trying to do here is raise awareness of the issue and try to get people to do what I have been saying for years which is “if you don’t have your data twice then you don’t have it at all”. This has never been more true than now with these type of viruses around. Your only defence from them is to back up your data to somewhere other than your computer. If you would like to read more on how to do a backup then there is a great article on our website…