I received and email, thoughtfully forwarded by Keith Manning, yesterday regarding “CryptoLocker” – a particularly nasty form of ransomware targeting Microsoft Windows-based computers. I could do no other than to pass this on – see below – for two reasons:
- You need to be aware of the latest threats – forewarned is forearmed, and a little extra vigilance isn’t a bad thing.
- I’ve been meaning to write a post about the need to ‘back up’ valuable information for same time.
You see, the second motive for posting this is far more important than the 1st.
This is because however hard you try to protect computer systems by keeping your software and anti-virus systems up-to-date and however vigilant you are, it’s almost inevitable that, in time, you’ll collect some kind of malware of one form or other on your computer.
If you’re lucky this will be pretty harmless and probably just delivering irritating pop-ups from time to time or a difficult to remove ‘search bar’ or some such. This can be a bit of a pain, but with some time and effort and the right information and tools, infections like this can be removed without too much difficulty.
But if you’re unlucky, a much more serious problem can arise and you’ll find an intolerable alien – like CryptoLocker – has seized control of your computer and the only way to remove it is by re-installing all your software (and data) from scratch. If you’ve got a complete backup of your system, no problem. Re-installation can take time but little effort, and you’ll be back up and running in no time. If you’ve only backed up your data, and not your operating system, it can take a lot longer and much more effort – but your irritation can be tempered with the thought that a ‘fresh’ install of windows almost always has a beneficial effect on performance and it’s probably something you were meaning to do anyway…..:-)
The problem only becomes serious if you don’t have a complete backup of your ‘data’ – meaning you data files that are important to you – like documents, emails and photographs and files containing names, addresses, phone numbers and other personal data that’s difficult to re-create once its gone. Loosing this information is usually nothing short of catastrophic – and yet, surprisingly, many people continue to use systems without any form of backup.
Be warned – if you’re one of these – you are asking for trouble!!
I’ll be posting some general advice regarding backup options in the future but, in the meantime, if you’d like to know more about CryptoLocker, take a look here:
for advice regarding ‘prevention’, look here: