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FBI MoneyPak Virus - A blessing in comparison...

FBI MoneyPak Virus – A blessing in comparison…

NOT entertaining. Ransomware. There is an increasing number of customers that call nowadays about ransomware virus attacks on their computers. Knock on wood, only one of our computer repair technicians has truly run across this specific virus in actuality. All others have been the more normal FBI virus variety of malware which can be resolved pretty fast.

Encrypting Technology

Resolving or repairing the cryptolocker virus? Not so much. Not only is it not a fast solution – there ISN’T one. The long of the cryptolocker virus is that what it actually does is use encrypting technology to encode the software files on your hard drive. The only way one can access these files is to decrypt them with a special “key”. While a lot of people see this and legitimately USE this form of technology to shield those files on their own hard drives, when a program, such as this one, does it for your files… The huge thing is that the files are only able to be be encrypted with a key (string of characters – a LONG sequence of characters) and thus to UNencrypt those files, you need to have the same key. Since you weren’t the one to DO the encrypting, and thus have NO clue what the key actually IS, you also can’t do the UNencrypting since you’ve no clue what the key actually is. Just the hackers do – and it is going to cost you to gamble on paying them to see IF they’re going to really decrypt those files.

As an aside, since we get way a lot of customers that have a real issues just keeping up with their e-mail password, using disk or file encryption technology has to be SERIOUSLY contemplated and thought through before actually doing it even in conditions that are legitimate. Email passwords can be reset. Encryption keys like this can’t be reset. If you encrypt your disc and then don’t have any hint what the key is – there is NO “reset” on that. Your files are eternally locked – which is the actual goal of this kind of encryption anyway – NO unauthorized access – including you should you forget that key.

Payment often DOES get your files back

>It looks like those files are really regularly decrypted by the ransomware folks and turn your computer back. At least often enough to make it a worthwhile risk to pay the blackmailers. Think about it, if paying the ransom had a 0% chance of getting your files back – people just wouldn’t do it period. Some of you may pay and get absolutely nothing, but is access back to your files worth a few hundred dollar gamble?  Don’t know.  If you have your hard drive loaded with all the documents, pictures and more that comprise your whole life – as a lot of people do – is a payment of a few hundred worth it?  Only you know in your case. If it’s just a cheesy laptop that you didn’t have much on to begin with – maybe not. Either way, you pay your money and take your chances.

There is no “fix”

This is simply not something a computer repair business can mend. Your choices are restricted. IF you have not been negligent with copies, it is possible to quite maybe restore or recover the files prior to being encrypto-locked. Think about it like this – your file is essentially set inside a brick that takes a special tool to crack. How will you get through that brick? It’s frustrating as you can SEE the file, but just can’t get to it. That special tool is going to cost you – and may or may NOT operate correctly. It’s not like you can phone your attorney and sue an anonymous international hacker for this kind of thing. You pay your 300-500 dollar ransom and just hope that it turns out right. And THEN make sure you’ve got appropriate backups going on. Expensive lesson yes, but… If there are no backups floating around anywhere?  You’re entirely hosed.

Prevention

Using good common sense is the best defense that you’ve got. That and a good antivirus software and knowing your computer. There will USUALLY be opportunities to put the kibosh on this or any virus before they get into your computer. They’ll occasionally conceal themselves in emails enticing you to just open a zip file that claims to have advice about a program that can’t be delivered to you. Hey hold it. DID you actually order anything?? And would FedEx or UPS really HAVE all those misspellings in their email? Great common sense is CONSTANTLY a must-have when it comes to your computer. Some you may be unable to see so easily – like web site drive by infection. Viruses can be embedded in web site code to drop a virus and hence infect your computer. With a good AV in place , hopefully these will be captured before they get a toehold in your hard drive. If your computer starts slapping up windows, or just generally behaving crazily – disconnect from your network pronto before anything else can be downloaded BY the virus into your computer. Call a computer repair company. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT jump into stopping and restarting the computer over and over again thinking this might help – it will NOT.  It will only likely GIVE the virus an opportunity to get further and further into your computer.

Here’s the article for more info…

Hackers ramp up computer attacks that demand ‘ransom’ – USA TODAY

http://news.google.com Wed, 14 May 2014 20:38:43 GMT

Hackers ramp up computer attacks that demand ‘ransom’USA TODAYHackers operating on the Internet’s “Dark Web” are spreading a new, more sophisticated generation of the malicious software known as “ransomware,” anonymously shaking down anyone with an u …

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