Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) that cyber criminals can install on your computer, enabling them to hold your files for ransom. They use a variety of means to do this, including email attachments, fake websites, and phony ads. They're counting on you opening their attachment, or clicking on links within their emails or on a website. But, no need to feel foolish if you've ever done this — the fakes can be very convincing.
The latest ransomware scam is called Fantom and is particularly pernicious. Here's why:
It poses as a Windows update that you need to install.
It looks realistic, complete with the Microsoft copyright and "critical update" file name.
It locks up all your files and prevents you from using your computer while it's "downloading."
Once it's installed, you'll receive a notice informing you that your files have been encrypted, and you need to pay a ransom before the criminals will unencrypt them. You can pay the ransom, and the bad guys may unencrypt your files. A better strategy is to ignore the request for a ransom and just restore your backed up files; this is one reason regular backups are so important.
But the best strategy is to avoid the ransomware in the first place; you can do this by installing a strong security system. In addition, follow all the standard online safety rules:
Don't open email attachments or click on links within emails from unfamiliar senders.
Stick to well-known internet sites, and be thoughtful about where you click.
Don't accept file transfers from unknown sources.
Keep your applications up to date (with the real updates your system provides).
Never give personal information, such as login data, to someone calling you from out of the blue. If it's a company you do business with, always call them back at a number you already know.
It's almost Halloween, but don't be spooked by the Fantom! Take precautions, and make sure your computer gets the treats and not the tricks.
©2016 Cornerstone Publishing Group Inc.
Source: Ransomware Posing As Windows Update