What you need to know: Cryptowall virus steals your files. Cryptowall is not your average virus. It is a stealth program that turns off built-in protection systems that safeguard your files and then it starts encrypting all your files. It uses a very advanced encryption algorithm that only those with access to a trillion dollar super computer have a chance to decrypt. Cryptowall will send you a nicely worded note telling you they encrypted your files for your protection and to gain access to them you can pay them $300-$600. DO NOT DO THIS! You are rewarding the crooks AND there is no guarantee the key they give you will actually decrypt your files. There is also no recourse for a refund. You will simply have to say goodbye to your precious spreadsheets, documents and family photos. Bye Bye. And Macs are not immune to this one!
What you should do – NOW! FIRST, run antivirus and malware scans on your computer. Make sure your computers are clean, then make sure you have an ACTIVE anti-virus system running. Many people download and run free antivirus and antimalware programs, but these have two problems – 1) they are not complete protection – meaning they protect against simple things, but do not protect against Trojans or other serious infection types; and 2) many are not active – meaning they are for manual scanning only; they are not actively looking for attempts to infect your computer. So, free is not really free since they do not proactively protect your computer. You need to spend a few dollars for complete protection and this is just half the equation.
SECOND, you must backup your important files or risk losing them. Most viruses today are constantly changing to trick the antivirus makers and get past them. Once a new variant comes out, it takes the antivirus makers a few days to pick up the new variation, write the code to defend against it and distribute out to all the computers that use it. Additionally, and a topic for another day, your hard drive is a ticking time bomb that WILL FAIL one day. So having a solid backup system can be a sound defense against Cryptowall, other viruses and the eventual disk drive failure. We strongly recommend having both a cloud backup system capable of keeping multiple versions of files and a local backup system that attach to your computer periodically (after running a virus scan) then disconnect from your computer so any virus that manages to get past your security software cannot infect your disconnected backup device.
Cheap Insurance. Unfortunately, in this world of open internet access, criminals are everywhere looking to make money. It has been said many times, if the internet criminals would just put their talents to work on legitimate products or services, they could make a lot of money. Well, so far anyway, they are not listening. So, you need to listen AND ACT NOW, or you could very well fall victim like two of our friends did this past week. If this message scares you, that is because it should and we have done our job informing you. This is simply today’s reality. Relative to other insurance policies you carry and hopefully never use; computer protection is cheap insurance and one you are likely to need at some point. Don’t wait – act now and protect your important files, documents and family photos.
Feel free to call us if you have questions or need assistance. 800-905-4335.