Internet Infection Holds Your Files Hostage for Ransom – On Your Own Computer!

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Federal authorities are investigating what they have dubbed an “Internet infection” which holds personal computer files hostage for ransom. This Internet infection is the first known instance of a virus or other malware which gets onto your computer, locks up your files, and then leaves behind a digital ransom note demanding $200 if you ever want to see your files again.

Authorities explain that your files are held hostage by being encrypted by the Internet infection, and the $200 ransom buys the key to the encryption.

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Internet Infection Holds Your Files Hostage for Ransom – On Your Own Computer!

A spokesperson for Internet security firm Symantec said that it was like “someone coming into your home, putting your valuables in a safe and not telling you the combination.”


Or like someone unleashing a virus on your computer which locks up all your files and then demands a $200 ransom for the key to unlock them.

And speaking of keys, what is the key to avoiding this fate?

Keep your virus checker up to date. And if you’re on a Windows machine, don’t open files from unknown sources. Don’t even open files from known sources, if you weren’t expecting the file, without first confirming that they actually sent it and intended to send it.

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Internet Infection Holds Your Files Hostage for Ransom – On Your Own Computer!

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6 Replies to “Internet Infection Holds Your Files Hostage for Ransom – On Your Own Computer!”

  1. Ok, my first comment re: backup wasn’t as clear as could have been wished. I imagined a scenario like this:
    1. Saturday is backup-day. I backup my files, possibly infected.
    2. The virus goes active on Tuesday. I locks up the files currently on my PC.
    3. I kill the virus on my system. I restore the files from my backup. I check the system is still virus free. I’m “only” missing the new files or files changed since Saturday. I could probably live with it. If not I should backup on a more regular profit. There’s no difference in the damage done by a virus locking up your files and a harddisk crash doing the same…
    4. Success! (I hope).

    Real men don’t do backups. But then again, real men do cry a lot :-)


  2. Great advice to backup – and we all should be doing it on a regular basis. This virus makes it even more imperative and also is a reminder that the backup shouldn’t be on anything the virus can access. No good if the backup gets hit too !!

  3. If you back up to another hard disk that is always connected to your computer, presumably the hacker could also encrypt your backup files, making them hostage as well. It seems the only true protection is to backup to removeable media and then remove it from the system.

  4. Well, if you make backups of your files on a regular basis, that would give you an extra added layer of protection. I do it weekly, so I would have to consider if loosing the files of maximum one week worth 200 dollars. Probably not. Someone who has files on his/her PC that are more critical should of course backup on a more regular basis. We keep hearing that you should update your anti-virus weekly/daily/hourly, but people should also get used to make backups as a matter of routine.
    I know, this will not solve all the issues of this case, but it will give you a certain peace of mind and a certain degree of protection. Another good reason for doing backups…

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