Defense Against Crime

29/07/2013

Being held ransom by your Computer

So far you’ve heard of computer viruses that can infect your computer and make it do bad things to your data. You may have also heard of malware or malicious software that can allow other’s access to your computer files. There are every kind of malware from Trojans viruses (think Trojan horse) to spyware, key loggers (send info on the keys you are pressing) to rootkits. The amount of different ways a hacker can attack your computer changes daily.

But imagine seeing this image on your screen

First of all, know that if you were engaging in the activity listed in this message, you would not get a message on your computer screen, you would get a knock at the door (or your door kicked in), or suddenly have your door kicked open, men with badges, and a pair of shiny connecting bracelets, and search warrant would storm in.

Think about it, would law enforcement warn you that they are coming to get you?  Also know that even in the 21st century you won’t pay these types of fines over the internet,  you pay them after you have been to court.

What you have gotten is called ransomware! It’s another creative threat to your money. Ransomware is a powerful virus locks you out of your computer and demands that you pay to unlock it. Hence the root word ransom.

Many types of ransomware display a fake messages like the one above claiming to be from a federal law enforcement agency.  The message could say you were caught downloading illegal files or looking at child porn. To clear things up, you DO NOT need to pay a fine. No court, No judge, No Jury, No Jail.

In other cases, ransomware is a straightforward ransom demand. Give us $$ or your computer or files are toast. The newer forms encrypt all your user files until you pay. Either way, your best defense is to keep it off your computer.

How do you get infected?

Unlike human viruses, computer viruses can’t be received and lots of ways. Computer viruses need direct contact with your computer. This means you have to install them before they can be active on your computer. What the creators of malware do, is come up with clever delivery methods to  trick people into downloading it, installing it or find computers that are vulnerable to attack. Sometimes these can be websites that are offering a FREE game, or FREE Utility, or CRACKED version of an expensive program, or something that will bait you. Many people fish thru your social media profiles to see what you like, so that it can be bait for your to click on,.

The most common way to encounter the ransomeware this page is when you’re searching for porn or illegal downloads online. However, it’s also showing up during searches of popular celebrity names. So, you could encounter it anywhere on line.  Or it’s a fake e-mail using the name of a friend or business with an attachment to open. These are some of the more effective tactics. Some people have put their virus on flash drives and then just drop them in random places like, bank, business, school, upper class neighborhood and then wait for their victims to find them and plug them into their computers.

Every internet browser allows websites to trigger new tabs and popup windows. Malware programmers of ransomware are using the popup system to make it look like you have ransomware. This is why some these crooks came up with ransomware. You would think a fake virus wouldn’t be a problem, but it is very clever.

Some Ransomware can completely lock down your computer, it can find and steal your passwords, or as we have mention, deny access to all your files. This alone is enough to make you consider paying the “fine” just to get it over with!. Some of them will spread across network using your cloud drives (like dropbox) that link your computers.

STOP . What makes you think it won’t come back? What make you think it will go away at all? The places the criminals want you to send your money using tools like Western union, or Money Pak, or in bitcoins are virtually untraceable. So don’t think you can simply pay like you can with a credit card, and then get your money back.

SO How can I fix it?

  • If you are not a techno-geek get professional help to remove this type of virus (the simple kind.

As will most security countermeasures, it best to take steps so that you don’t get infected, which means having good security software such as AVG, Avira, Microsoft Security Essentials, or Avast for windows. We also recommend Sophos, and Avira for Apple Macintosh computers.

Before you shell out any money, though, there’s something you should know. While this scam looks like ransomware, it’s much easier to fix. You just have to restart your browser.

WINDOWS

While the these hackers/programmers/scammers make this lookimpossible , it isn’t impossible. The easiest way to do this is with the keyboard shortcut ALT + F4 keys. This is the Windows shortcut to close whatever program you’re using.

If that doesn’t work, hit CTRL + SHIFT + ESC (ALT + CTRL + DEL in Windows XP). In the Applications or Programs tab, find your browser name, select it and hit End Task. It might take a few moments.

MAC

On a Mac (yes this scam works in Mac as well), use CMD + Q. Or go up to the Apple icon and choose Force Quit. Then select your browser from the list.

You can also just restart your computer. It will warn you that your browser is still open, but you can tell it to restart anyway.

After the browser closes, start it up again. Everything should be back to normal.

I would also suggest booting your computer in safe mode and running the System Tools >Disk Clean up Tool and make sure you clear browser history.

The only trick is that some browsers restore your previously opened tabs after a crash. If that happens, your browser will get locked again.

FIXING IN INTERNET EXPLORER

To fix this in Internet Explorer, turn off Automatic Crash Recovery. Go to Tools>>Internet options. In the Advanced tab, uncheck Enable automatic crash recovery. Then click OK and restart the browser.

AVG offers the AVG Rescue CD specifically to deal with nasty viruses like this.

FIXING IN FIRE FOX

Just like the Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox re-opens tabs by default only if the program crashes. Depending on how you closed it, it may or may not count as a crash. If it does reload the page, just close Firefox again using the same method. When you start it the second time, hit the Start New Session button. If you set Firefox to remember open tabs, you’ll need to turn that setting off. Go to the Firefox button and select Options. In the General tab, change the When Firefox Starts option.

FIXING IN Google Chrome

Google Chrome works in a similar way, so you shouldn’t have a problem. However, you’ll want to double-check one setting. Go to the Chrome menu – the icon with the 3 bars on the right – and choose Settings. Under the Settings tab under On startup, set it to Open the New Tab page.

FIXING IN APPLE SAFARI

In Safari, go to Safari>>Reset Safari. You’ll want to have Clear history and Close all Safari windows checked. Then click Reset. Ransomware and fake ransomware aren’t the only threats out there. Here are three more you need to know about.

IS THE NIGHTMARE OVER

Even after you remove the virus, there may be some long-term effects. Ransomware can damage some of your sensitive files. Rare forms of ransomware can encrypt your files so you don’t have access

BE PROACTIVE

We recommend that you have a computer maintenance schedule and have the following done each month

  • Install, Update, and use Anti-virus software that also removes spyware, and other malware.
  • Keep your firewall turned on.
  • Backup everything – have a weekly automatic backup
  • Update everything – Computer Hackers are constantly trying to find new and cleaver ways wreak havoc with computers system, so computer companies are always fixing weakness in their systems via patches. Make sure you are constantly updating
  • Monitor your computer health – again you can find great online resources on sites like C-Net, or the major virus software vendors have recommendations as well.
  • Don’t open spam e-mail or click on suspicious websites

We are dedicated to providing you with the best and most affordable self-defense products on the market to meet the security needs of you, your family members or your business, by assisting anyone who is unwilling to become a victim of crime. If you want to take personal responsibility for self-protection, home security, business security, purchase our high quality discount self-defense products and arm yourself with the knowledge about self-defense and security products and information of the best way to stay secure in an ever-increasing violent world. In today’s society, being equipped mentally and physically is no longer an option. Victor Swindell, Onyx Knight Enterprises

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