Summer action movies portray stars like Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, and Liam Neeson as heroes in various hostage situations, but these guys  are useless when your data is being held for ransom. Once again, it is SLICE to the rescue!


A Note on Ransomware

In light of the current rash of CryptoWall infections, SLICE would like to take this opportunity to educate our readers on the dangers of CryptoWall and other varieties of ransomware.

What It Is

Ransomware is a type of malware that denies you access to your machine, essentially holding your data hostage until you complete a survey or pay a fee in order to unlock and use your device. Traditionally posing a threat to PCs exclusively, ransomware has recently been detected in iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers as well as in Android mobile devices.

Its Attack Style

There are several ways through which ransomware can attack your gadget. One way is via attachments to emails. Another is through exploiting security flaws in an installed application or in your device’s operating system. The aforementioned CryptoWall virus’ preferred avenue of incursion is through fake update notices for applications like Adobe Reader and Java. Even advertisements on major websites could be harboring ransomware. Whereas no gadget is immune, PCs running Windows XP are especially vulnerable to ransomware, as Microsoft ended support for XP in April.

When it comes to ransomware, infection is only the tip of the iceberg. The Tony Soprano of technological viruses, ransomware uses sophisticated techniques to trick users into paying protection money. One strain of ransomware assumes the identity of the FBI or your local police department and demands that you pay a fine through legitimate money transfer service like Green Dot MoneyPak or anonymous services such as BitCoin, to avoid prosecution for a bogus Internet law infraction and regain access to your device. Victims of a ransomware outbreak in Australia report their iPhone’s “Find My iPhone” feature’s alarm wailing as a message demanding a money transfer via PayPal appeared on the screen.

How to Fight Back

If ransomware is holding your data captive, do not call Liam Neeson to rescue it and definitely do not cave to its requests! Contact your managed services provider. If you do not have a trustworthy managed services provider in your contacts, call SLICE! Even if your equipment is not showing signs of a ransomware infection, we will be happy to answer any questions you have about data security.


By: Alannah Dragonetti

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