Ransomware

A few weeks ago, a delivery guy walked into our office. While we signed for the package, he realized that we work in cyber security and asked:

My entire music collection from the past 11 years got encrypted by ransomware.

Is there anything I can do about it?

They’re asking for $500 for the decryption key.

My first thought was: I hope he has a data backup. So I had to ask:

Do you have a backup?

He looked down and said a bitter „no”.

This scenario is unfolding right now somewhere in the world. Maybe even in your city or neighborhood.

In this very moment, someone is clicking a link in a spam email or activating macros in a malicious document.

In a few seconds, all their data will be encrypted and they’ll have just a few days to pay hundreds of dollars to get it back. Unless they have a backup, which most people don’t.

Ransomware creators and other cyber criminals involved in the malware economy are remorseless. They’ve automated their attacks to the point of targeting anyone and everyone.

Take this story from the New York Times:

MY mother received the ransom note on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It popped up on her computer screen soon after she’d discovered that all of her files had been locked. “Your files are encrypted,” it announced. “To get the key to decrypt files you have to pay 500 USD.” If my mother failed to pay within a week, the price would go up to $1,000. After that, her decryption key would be destroyed and any chance of accessing the 5,726 files on her PC — all of her data — would be lost forever.

Sincerely, CryptoWall.

I hope you’re just reading this post to be prepared for a ransomware attack. Prevention is absolutely the best security strategy in this case.

This guide is packed with concrete information on:

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