If you’ve never heard of the term ransomware before today, chances are you’ll hear more about it in the weeks and months ahead. By opening an attachment either included directly in an email or that you download by clicking on a link in an email, your computer could be infected. I have two clients in the Greater Moncton area who have been victims of this type of attack in the last week.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES?
All your documents, including accounting software databases from Simply Accounting, Quickbooks and others, photos, videos and music will be encrypted. Once encrypted, your data may be irrecoverable unless you pay the ransom requested by the authors, typically $ 500 or more. Even once the ransom is paid there is no guarantee that you will be given the key to decrypt your data.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF?
- Do not click an internet link included in an email or attachment in an email, unless you are 100% certain of the content, and the identity of the person who sent it to you.
- Criminals responsible for these attacks may even contact you by phone before sending you an e-mail claiming to be from a company, anything to get a name, email address, which they can later use in the crafting of a more realistic message to deceive you. One of the victims I know, the owner of a company, had his wife’s name in the infected attachment: very convincing! I myself received a call from a man who claimed to want to send me a proposal for computer work. This gentleman got my name and email address. I have since received at least three emails that are, I’m sure, ransomware attempts. But I never received his ” proposal for computer work “. These criminals can get $ 500 or more for a convincing email so they are highly motivated!
- Since to err is human, you may accidentally open a link that leads to an attachment, or open the attachment itself. In this case close your computer immediately and do not open it again before asking for help from a professional such as myself.
- To protect your data before an infection, do an external backup: backups in the cloud such as OneDrive, iCloud, Google Drive and Dropbox will not protect you in this kind of infection. Only a backup to an external drive or external key that you plug in before, and unplug after each backup weekly or monthly backup will be safe.
PS: Because of the urgent nature of this message, it was written quickly. Please kindly make me aware of any errors in this newsletter or feel free to ask any question directly in the blog if you would like more information or a clarification.
Thank you! Charles
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