Computer users may be vulnerable to type of malware known as “ransomware,” according to an industry expert.
A participant attends an international meeting of “hackers” in Hamburg, Germany on Dec. 27, 2013.
Hackers use a computer virus to infect a hard drive, encrypt a user’s data and demand payment before releasing the encryption code, according to computer science expert Scott Spiro.
Spiro also provided the below information as a resource to computer users:
How To Protect Your Family & Business From Data Theft
Section 1: Why do you need to read this?
From The Desk Of: Scott Spiro
CEO, Computer Solutions Group, Inc.
The fact of the matter is that computers and networks absolutely, positively need ongoing maintenance and monitoring to stay secure. The ever-increasing dependency we have on IT systems and the data they hold — not to mention the type of data we’re now saving digitally — has given rise to very smart and sophisticated cybercrime organizations and who work around the clock to do one thing: compromise your networks for illegal activities.
In most cases their intent is to access financial information and passwords to rob you (or your clients), create fake identities for credit card fraud, etc. In other cases they may want to use your computer network to send illegal spam, host pirated software, spread viruses, and more. Then some do it just for the “fun” of being able to make computer systems inoperable. These criminals work around the clock in teams, constantly finding and inventing new ways to get around your antivirus software and firewalls. That’s why you have to remain ever vigilant against their attacks.
Of course, this doesn’t even take into consideration other common “disasters” such as rogue employees, lost devices, hardware failures (which are the No. 1 reason for data loss), fire and natural disasters and a host of other issues that can interrupt or outright destroy your IT infrastructure and the data it holds. Then there’s regulatory compliance for any business hosting or touching credit card or financial information, medical records and even client contact information such as e-mail addresses.
Preventing these problems and keeping your systems up and running (which is what managed IT services is all about) is a lot less expensive and damaging to your organization than waiting until one of these things happens and then paying for emergency IT services to restore your systems to working order (break-fix).
The latest major security threat in tech has been the Cryptolocker virus, a wickedly complex and devastating virus that can cripple an entire business in one swipe.
Section 2: What is Cryptolocker?
Cryptolocker is a dangerous “trojan horse” virus that typically infects your computer after you open an email attachment. It usually is disguised as a PDF file that looks like it has been sent to you from your bank or a delivery company.
Once it infects your computer, the software looks for files to encrypt — usually photos, word docs, excel spreadsheets and even entire folders like your Dropbox folder.
Unfortunately, you won’t know anything is wrong until it’s too late. By that time, the software will simply notify you that you have 48 hours to pay them a specific amount of money (hundreds or thousands of dollars) or else you will never get your important files back.
That is why this sort of maleware is called “ransomware.”
Here you will find a few links that will help you protect yourself against the Cryptolocker virus, as well as additional software to help protect your family from the “dark internet” in general.
Section 3: Key Resources
Please visit the following websites for the most up-to-date info available for keeping your technology and private info secure:
- Brian Krebs, a former journalist at the Washington Post provides an up-to-date commentary on all recent security issues that computer users of all types should be aware of. A monthly visit to Brian’s site is well worth it. Link: www.krebsonsecurity.com
- Microsoft Windows 8 Family Safety: Microsoft offers some free family safety features built right into Windows 8. I am very pleased about this addition. Here’s a link to the tutorial: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/family-safety
- Foolish IT: This company has created a program called “Crypto Prevent” which is designed to protect your computer from infection from the dreaded Cryptolocker. It’s worth checking out. Link: http://www.foolishit.com/vb6-projects/cryptoprevent/
For additional information, and to subscribe to my newsletter visit: www.csgsupport.net
Section 4: About The Author
Scott Spiro is founder and President of Computer Solutions Group, Inc (CSG), and author of the book “Hassle Free Computer Support.”
In 2013, CSG was named one of the top 100 I.T. firms in the nation by trade site MSPmentor.com.
In addition to solving the typical I.T. challenges most businesses face, Scott has focused his own efforts in helping his clients and their families battle Cybercrime, Cyberbullying, and other harmful technologies. A member of the U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force, Scott is dedicated to protecting both businesses and consumers from the potential dangers of being “connected” 24/7 to their computers.
A graduate of UCLA, Scott has been featured by the N.Y. Times, KTLA Channel 5 News, KFWB, and was nominated by the Century City Chamber of Commerce for their Men of Achievement awards. Scott enjoys participation in the LA5 Rotary Club, EO, and any activities that involve spending time with his family and friends.
Thanks to Microsoft and Cisco Meraki
Read more: http://ktla.com/2014/02/25/expert-how-to-protect-your-family-business-from-data-theft/#ixzz2v7GLTMLQ