Latest Malware Cyberscam Holds Your Hard Drive for Ransom

Feb 19 2014, 6:45pm CST | by

Latest Malware Cyberscam Holds Your Hard Drive for Ransom
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

While I was locked out of this site due to some malicious hacking, I had breakfast with a friend who is an expert on cyber security. His admonition: Everyone will be hacked, so get ready for it.

Remember the maxim “knowledge is power?” I’d like to amend that to say “information is capital.” The bits and bytes that cyberthieves are ripping off are worth billions on the black market.

There are sites where Social Security numbers and dates of birth are peddled. Credit card information is purloined. Medical data is stolen for vital identification numbers. This black market is a decentralized, 24/7 enterprise that respects no national boundaries, can’t be policed by armies and is growing by the minute.

The latest cyberscam that caught my eye goes one step further than theft: It holds your computer files for ransom. It’s like some brigand from a Third-World Country gains access to your hard drive, locks it up and demands money to unlock it. Normally, I’d say this was some kind of hoax, except that the FBI and U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued a warning on this “Cryptolocker” scam:

* Cryptolocker is spread mostly through email and “drive-by” downloads.

* The email might look like a routine message from a legitimate company, like a tracking notice from a shipping company.

* If you click on the hyperlink in the email, Cryptolocker encrypts everything on your hard drive and in your shared folders.

* When the job is done, you get a “ransom note” demanding payment via Bitcoin or some other anonymous payment method.

* The criminals behind this malware say they’ll give you the encryption key if you pay, but they’re hardly trustworthy. And there’s no other way to unlock your files.

What can you do to avoid this crime?

* Regularly back up your files

* Don’t download anything you haven’t identified as something that’s legitimate.

* Don’t click on unknown links.

* Make sure your security software updates regularly.

* Don’t give out personal information unless it’s on an encrypted website.

* Change your passwords on a regular basis.

I’m  not saying that any one of these protective measures will fend off a hacking attack. I’ve been hacked numerous times and it’s no fun. But you can employ a number of safeguards that may slow these trolls down./>/>

John F. Wasik is the author of Keynes’s Way to Wealth: Timeless Investment Lessons from the Great Economist and 13 other books.  An investor protection advocate, he speaks and writes regularly on investing, economics and personal finance.

A Brief History of Apple Hacking

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Twitter to track apps on your smartphone
New York, Nov 27 (IANS) The micro-blogging site Twitter has launched a new move to track which apps are installed on your cellphone.
 
 
Copper essential for resting brain too
New York, Nov 27 (IANS) A new study has found that proper copper levels are essential to the health of the brain at rest.
 
 
Dogs clearly listen to what we say
London, Nov 27 (IANS) Dogs pay attention not only to who we are and how we say things, but also to what we say, shows a study.
 
 
Eye's 'glassy' proteins behind sight deterioration
London, Nov 27 (IANS) The age-related long-sightedness could be due to proteins in eye-lens that are converted from a fluid solution to a solid glassy state, making the lens more rigid, says a study.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Modi, Sharif shake hands, chat at reception
Kathmandu, Nov 27 (IANS) After a day when they apparently ignored each other in front of cameras, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif shook hands and met briefly during the retreat at...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Arsenal's target is to top Group D: Cazorla
London, Nov 27 (IANS) Arsenal mid-fielder Santi Cazorla said that after securing the last 16 spot in Champions League, the club's next target will be the top place of the group. The English club reached the knockout...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Five killed in Kabul suicide car bombing
Kabul, Nov 27 (IANS) At least five Afghan civilians were killed and 34 others wounded Thursday morning when a suicide car bombing targeted a British embassy armoured vehicle in eastern Kabul, sources said. The British...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Twitter to track apps on your smartphone
New York, Nov 27 (IANS) The micro-blogging site Twitter has launched a new move to track which apps are installed on your cellphone. "To help build a more personal Twitter experience for you, we are collecting and...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Galatasaray going through very difficult moment: Prandelli
Brussels, Nov 27 (IANS) Galatasaray coach Cesare Prandelli said that the club are going through "very difficult moment" following the 0-2 away defeat to RSC Anderlecht in the Champions League. "We will continue on our...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Pele remains in hospital in stable condition
Rio de Janeiro, Nov 27 (IANS) Brazil football legend Pele remains in hospital as he receives ongoing treatment for a urinary tract infection. The 74-year-old is being treated with intravenous antibiotics and is in a...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Simeone salutes his players for 4-0 win over Olympiakos
Madrid, Nov 27 (IANS) Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone praised his players after they defeated Olympiakos of Greece 4-0 in the Champions league at the Vicente Calderon Stadium here Wednesday. "We have produced some...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Basel made life difficult for us: Gareth Bale
Geneva, Nov 27 (IANS) Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale said Basel posed enough threats after Real won over the Swiss club 1-0 in the Champions League Wednesday night. "Basel are still battling to qualify, still fighting...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Tennis star Murray to marry
London, Nov 27 (IANS) Two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray is set to marry long-time girlfriend Kim Sears, Murray's management team has announced. Murray, 27, and Sears, 26, have been a couple since meeting at the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Natalie Portman up for Jobs biopic
Natalie Portman is in talks for a role in the Steve Jobs biopic. The 'Black Swan' actress is negotiating a deal to play a ''major role'' in the movie about the Apple co-founder - who died from pancreatic cancer in 2011...
Read more on Movie Balla