By Bob Hooper for Island Eye News
There is a whole category of vicious viruses that are on the rise and you need to be ready.
Last week I wrote about your “Data” and how important it is to back it up. Well that column could not be more true now with CryptoLocker (and many different variations) infecting computers.
As I have said in the past, malware went from destroying your hardware or data to just collecting it, following you on the Internet, etc. Now the theme is to “lock” or encrypt your data right on your hard drive and then ransom it back to you.
The hackers will give you 48 hours to cough up a lot of dough, sometimes in the $500-$1,000 range, or the data stays encrypted. So back up your Data.
Online backup such as Carbonite or Mozy cannot be infected through your computer as the virus does not see it as a drive. An external hard drive that constantly backs up your data can be seen by the virus and can be encrypted if connected at the time of the infection.
So what did I just say? Consider an online backup that works continuously if you have lots of data that you are constantly updating, such as QuickBooks or some other business software. If you have personal data that does not change often, such as pictures or documents, consider backing them up to an external hard drive that you do not leave attached to the computer. An external hard drive connected to your computer that backs up all the time is a good thing except in the case of this virus.
One note about the CryptoLocker and all it variants right now, it only infects Windows based computers. Right now that is, many experts seem to think a Mac malware that does the same is not far from happening. One thing is for sure, these idiots are not dumb and since Mac products are not cheap I’m sure they are trying to figure a way to “lock” up a MacBook.
A new version called Simplocker attacks Android based smartphones (mostly in Eastern Europe) as does another one called Koler. For now, the Apple iPhone is safe but again be very careful, use virus protection on your phone, which you can find in the app store.
If in doubt please call a pro to help you out. As others have said do everything you can not to pay these cretins. Last week’s ending to the column bears repeating so here it is again: Regardless of whether you are using Windows or Apple based computers please back up your data, either in-house or online, just do it.
Finally if you use QuickBooks please pay for and use their online backup. Several clients have had to pay lots to restore the QB data onto a new computer after a crash. Important data should be considered just that, important.
As always if you have questions or need help you can call or email me, Rent A Bob at 843.822.7794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.