I have been warning you about the dangers of Ransomware for a couple of years now. Ransomware is a type of malware that when installed on your computer locks and encrypts your data so that it becomes unavailable to you unless you pay a ransom to the hacker who promises to provide the decryption key if you pay the ransom, but who threatens to destroy your data if you do not promptly pay the ransom. Individuals, companies, governmental agencies and now law firms are being increasingly targeted by Ransomware. The FBI issued a warning earlier this year about an increase in the use of Ransomware. Two of the more popular Ransomware programs presently being used by hackers are CryptoLocker and the newer CryptoWall. As is so often the case with malware, Ransomware is installed on victims’ computers when they unwittingly click on links or download attachments in phishing emails that appear legitimate. In the last year, one particularly successful phishing email containing Ransomware promised information about the television series “Breaking Bad.”
A good way to protect yourself against all types of malware including Ransomware is to never click on links or download attachments until you have confirmed that it is legitimate. Additionally, you should keep all of your anti-malware and anti-virus software up to date with the latest security patches. Another helpful thing to do is to program your hard drive to prevent unidentified users from modifying your files. Finally, all of your data should be regularly, and when possible, automatically backed up.