The newest ransomware (malicious software that interferes with your
computer's functioning and requires a ransom to restore it) is even more
problematic than previous types, because it not only prevents access to
your documents, it locks you out of your computer entirely. This file,
called Petya, is typically transmitted via email. If you open the
attachment, or follow the link, it begins running on your computer.
Once this happens, you'll see a series of things happening, including the
Blue Screen of Death, the Windows Check Disk running, and a screen
showing a skull and informing you of the ransom you have to pay to get
your computer to function again. If you choose to pay the ransom, you'll
have to use another computer to do it.
Fortunately, you have a couple of other options to try. Take your
computer to an IT technician, who may be able to recover your system. Or,
if possible, shut down your computer immediately when you see the Blue
Screen of Death. At this point, you may still be able to salvage your
Of course, the best strategy is to prevent the file from infecting your
computer in the first place. To do this, use standard malware prevention
*Be wary of all email you receive, especially from people you don't know.
Don't open any attachments from an unknown source and don't follow any
links unless you know where they go.
*Use complex, varied passwords and keep them private.
*Only download software and apps from known, trusted websites and stores.
*Keep your operating system, browser, and all applications up to date.
Regularly install security patches and other updates.
*Use an anti-virus and anti-malware application, and run it regularly to
ensure continuous protection.
*Perhaps most importantly, back up all your files regularly. Use a
reliable offsite backup and recovery service.
While there is a lot of potential danger in computer and online use,
there are also many steps you can take to protect yourself.
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