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Mar 31 2016

Decrypting The Crypto Virus

By Bob Hooper for The Island Connection

I’ve mentioned before that ads on Web pages can infect your laptop/desktop in previous columns and now is a good time to revisit that topic. Very recently, major sites such as The New York Times, MSN, BBC and even AOL have been hit with infected ads that download “Crypto-viruses” to your machine… and that’s very bad.

What the heck is that you ask? A Cryptovirus encrypts all your data with a “key”that the bad guys hide on their website and give you 48 hours to buy. If you don’t buy it, they throw it away and in most cases your data cannot be unencrypted, at least not without a lot of time and expense (and most likely not even then). The key holders usually want around $300 to $500 but it can go higher depending on who/what you are, such as if you are a business.

Websites in general can be hacked (and in some cases the ads on those website), be careful where you go. If you are not sure of how to spell a website or the exact name, don’t guess, Google it or use duckduckgo.com or another search engine to find the exact name of the website. I recently had a client that was getting another type of malware from a website, she thought she was going to a specific site but was adding a name to the end that did not exist in the correct website. Instead of going to a legitimate website she was directed towards a fake one, and these sites can easily infect your computer with bad stuff. Next thing you know you are calling me and screaming “Help my stuff is gone!” So, not just for the Crypto-virus but for any type of malware please make sure of the address or use a search engine to get that exact web address.

The bad guys are getting better at hiding their stuff and it can come in a piece of text, a picture or even an attachment.

The attachment can be in an email or be in a word document, even in that website you just went to. Anything that is digital can “hide” something, don’t be scared of everything but if going to a new place on the Internet just be aware and if it looks a little odd, most likely it is!

If you need help with your computer, cellphone or electronic device call Rent A Bob at 843.822.7794.

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