that you definitely do not want to get on your computer. Ever. Think bad virus times 1000. This type of malware is even worse than the hype. If you get it on your computer and click what it wants you to click (this is the social engineering part of the equation and they are very good at this, unfortunately) then there is a good chance it is already to late.
This malware takes all your data files like Excel, QuickBooks, Word etc and encrypts them so that they are unreadable. Imagine not being able to access ANY of your accounting information. Who owes you? Who do you owe? Or not being able to open the Word Doc that is your novel. Gone.
This can put you out of business. It is serious. You actually need to pay attention. Because the FBI themselves concur that often the ONLY way is to pay the criminals who put this malware on your computer in order to get the encryption key to bring back your files. Maybe they want $300. Ouch. If you are a larger company, maybe they want $250,000. Yeah, super duper ouch!
The sad truth is that this is so effective and makes the criminals so much money, that it will not be going away anytime soon.
Even with major anti virus software installed, it is still possible to get this. Usually by accidentally or on purpose visiting a sketchy website. You know the type. Brittany Spears Naked! Free Microsoft Office! Free sex! Free Drugs! Free Money! Download Free First Run Movies! That type of thing. So, do not go there and you will be OK.
Unless an actual “good” website has been temporarily infected with this evil malware. And you just happened to get unlucky and visit the site before it had been cleaned. Kind of rare, but it does happen.
And so, I felt compelled to write this post in hopes of raising awareness about this truly evil malware. This does not just mean a call to your computer guru and have him/her remove a “regular” virus. This can ruin your life.
OK, so here is where you need to pay special attention. There is actually one thing you can do that will 100% keep your important files safe from the criminals. Yes, you may have guessed. BACKUP YOUR COMPUTER! Because even with a proper and recent and secure backup, your life is still going to suck as you rebuild an entire computer from scratch (I mean you are not going to trust these assholes that they have removed all malware from your computer just because you paid them, are you?) and restore all your data and most likely pay someone good money to do all that.
But a few dollars and some lost time sure beats NO FILES EVER, right?
And that, folks, is straight talk from CapeWP. These days you really cannot afford to not have a proper backup plan in place. I recommend Backblaze for remote backups. A good local backup will do but is much more work and much more likely to NOT be done. Or be corrupted or out of date.
I really wish I did not have to write this, but someone has to get the word out to regular folks that this time it is really serious. Really.
Reminder. Even if you pay them, stuff can go wrong. And even if they offer to help you restore the files (criminals have integrity, right?) after you have paid, is that who you want working on your computer? I think not.
Because this time, if you do not have a backup, you are 100% out of luck. God herself cannot bring back your files once encrypted.
Do not visit sketchy websites. Have a current and secure backup. And in general, surf wisely and NEVER click on any link in an email that you are not sure of. If it purports to be from your bank, DO NOT CLICK. Call your bank. If it purports to be from PayPal, go to the PayPal site manually or call PayPal.
If you have no files of value whatsoever on your computer (think spare “throwaway” computer) then do what ever you want. Because you can just reformat the hard drive (or pay someone to do it) and nothing matters.
But if you have any files of value, personal, business or both, then you really only have one choice here in 2016. Backup your computer.
That’s a wrap.
Next week, back to WordPress, websites, and other fun stuff.