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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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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