Chances are, you’ve probably heard or been a victim of some malware or spyware on your computer.  Usually, if you catch them early enough, you’ll be able to recover your machine and your data, and only suffer some minimal downtime.  However, as antivirus programs and security have increased in the last few years, hackers have been finding new ways to make their malicious code affect computers- and their newest way is with ransomware.

Once ransomware is invoked on your computer, it locks all of your personal files and prevents access until you pay the encryptors their desired ransom amount of money (usually around $500), and obtain a code to unlock your files.  Furthermore- it isn’t just about being careful with where you go online anymore; we’ve had a telemarketer call our customer who unknowingly provided access to their machine, allowing the caller access to quickly password protect their hard drive before they knew what happened.  While password lockouts are nothing new to cybersecurity, ‘ransomware’ officially exploded in popularity last year causing catastrophic blows to millions of infected machines worldwide.  Once infected, you have minimal options; restore from a clean backup (if you have it), or pay the ransom and move on.

Now there’s a third option:  This site is a free resource created by experts at some of the top data security companies who are partnering together to stop this malicious trend.  They offer free tools to possibly help once you’ve been infected, and offer suggestions of how to prepare in advance for this type of trouble (hint: backup, BACKUP, BACKUP!)

If you get into a situation with ransomware, it’s important to involve a professional as soon as you can, to minimize complications, and get you back up and running as soon as possible.  It’s good to check out this resource now, the review their Q & A page now to learn more about these types of attacks before they cripple your computer!