Ransomware, what is it?

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Ransom-ware is a type of malicious software code design to lock a computer until a sum of money is paid out, the amount could range from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on how sophisticated the scam is.

It usually starts like this:

You are happily surfing the web for information on your favorite artist or sport when you click on a link to a website that seems to be related to what you are looking for but instead of getting the information you are looking for the website brings up a warning screen saying your computer is infected with a virus or malicious software that needs to be removed and the website offers a free scan of your computer, (scam) at the end of the scan an alarm or a warning goes off saying your computer is infected and you need to call an 800 number to talk to a tech support person (scammer) that will help you clean your computer.

You call the 800 number and talk to someone who seems to be legit and knowledgeable on the situation, they offer to help you clean you computer for a fee of course (Scam). A credit card number is given the scammer offers you additional services like a firewall or a data backup service then he asks you to let him remote into your computer and before you know it you are paying hundreds or in some cases thousands of dollars to a scammer overseas and have given him free access to your data and files, sounds too hard to believe? well that’s exactly what happen to one of our customers.

After calling the number, providing payment info and giving free access to his computer this customer was about to loose over $400 dollars to one of these scammers if it had not been for the Credit Card Company that decline the charges after seeing that they were coming from a merchant in China he would have lost a lot of cash but not just the cash his valuable personal information was compromised, thankfully he did the right thing and contacted us right away for assistance.

We were able to unlock his computer, restore it to the way it was before all of this happen, and provide peace of mind to his family and business (believe me when you have a family and a business a disruption like this can be very stressful and time consuming).

Here are a few things you can do if this happens to you:

  1. “Do not call the 800 number”, by calling them you are putting yourself in a very compromising spot, no only can they make you believe there is something wrong with your computer but they can also pressure you into paying for additional software or services which are more then likely additional ransomware to lock your computer and keep you from being able to login.
  2. If you get a warning on your screen and you can’t get rid of it “Stop, don’t panic” and don’t do anything else, turn it off or disconnect it from your Network then contact someone local that has the knowledge and experience to remove malicious ransomware. There are a lot of companies out there that advertise they can fix all types of computer problems but their technicians are not experience enough to deal with the complexities of viruses and ransomware, it takes a lot of years of experience and research to deal with the complexities of malicious software and programs.
  3. ¬†If you have already fallen victim to one of these “Ransomware scams” it is not too late to restore your Computer (or for that matter your Personal information). Contact your credit card company to inform them of the situation, change your email password, bank account password and¬† any other passwords that you believe have been compromised, contact the credit bureaus to put a watch on your credit, then contact someone local you can trust and that is experienced at removing these type of threats, if you are in the Denver metro area give us a call we can help 720-449-6618, Colorado Computer Techs.