The Hacker’s Rule Book
Ever since there was a “good guy,” there has always been a “bad guy” just a few steps behind. When it comes to computer security and viruses however, the bad guys are actually ahead of the good guys – not trailing behind them. I’ll explain in a minute.
First, let’s talk briefly about computer security in general, and then specifically about this relatively new monster called “ransomware.” In computer security, there are a few guiding principles:
- If it can be secured, it can be hacked
- The balance between security and usability is shifting along the continuum on a daily basis and it takes incredible attention to strike that balance at any given time.
- There will always be exceptions to security rules created by even the most brilliant developers
- Discovering the security exception is often much harder than exploiting it.
- There are “bad guys” whose job it is to spend as much time and money as is necessary to break secure systems (that is why they are always ahead)
- The guy that finds and exploits the exception, MAKES THE RULES!
Now that we have gotten the rules of the game out of the way, I want you to imagine this scenario. You receive an email from your credit card company – you have gotten a hundred of their emails over the years. You flip through them quickly just to make sure you haven’t missed an account update or an electronic statement. You click “Trust content from this sender,” – skim over it quickly – same old form letter; Delete, delete, delete! No big deal right?
(i’ll tell you why in a second)
You jump on the computer the next morning to sift through all of the pictures taken the night before and all you see is: “IMAGE CANNOT BE DISPLAYED – FILE CORRUPTED”
Here is what probably just happened:
The night before when you were reviewing that “credit card” email, you just allowed a malicious script to run – one that was embedded in a fraudulent email disguised as your credit card company. That script, a classification of trojan horse known as “ransomware” ran all night long on your computer, encrypting all of your personal and company data, and sent the key to unlock that encryption – to a server somewhere overseas – usually in eastern europe. All that is left behind are files that state: “YOUR DATA HAS BEEN LOCKED. IF YOU WANT TO REGAIN ACCESS, YOU MUST SEND [THE HACKERS] $LOTS OF MONEY$” (we have seen it as high as $5200).
What do I do? Is My Data Gone?
At the very first sign that your data is not available as it should be, you must IMMEDIATELY turn off your computer. Power it off and unplug it and disconnect everything. Then shut off all other computers in your home or office. The reason is, the ransomware relies on your computer to be on in order to continue to encrypt your data. If you turn your computer(s) off immediately, you will minimize your exposure to the encryption.
Is there any hope?
Yes, actually, there is a lot of hope if you do exactly what we just prescribed. Actually, there is a very good chance that your losses will be next to nothing. However, you must have your computer assessed and cleaned of the malicious software before you can turn it back on.
Here’s How To Get Help
Residential customers can either bring their computer(s) to one of our Same Day Computer locations or call us at 877-GET-24IT and schedule a pickup.
Business customers may call Same Day Computer’s 24IT division at 877-GET-24IT to schedule a Same Day onsite visit from one of our IT specialists who will recover and secure your data, remove the ransomware infection, check all of your computers and networked devices, tighten your business security, and have you back up and running in no time at all!
We hope you found this information helpful! If you have any questions, you can always chat with someone live at our website www.24it.co, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 877-GET-24IT.