Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) that cyber criminals can install on your computer, enabling them to hold your files for ransom. They use a variety of means to do this, including email attachments, fake websites, and phony ads. They're counting on you opening their attachment, or clicking on links within their emails or on a website. But, no need to feel foolish if you've ever done this the
fakes can be very convincing.
The latest ransomware scam is called Fantom and is particularly
pernicious. Here's why:
* It poses as a Windows update that you need to install.
* It looks realistic, complete with the Microsoft copyright and "critical
update" file name.
* It locks up all your files and prevents you from using your computer
while it's "downloading."
Once it's installed, you'll receive a notice informing you that your
files have been encrypted, and you need to pay a ransom before the
criminals will unencrypt them. You can pay the ransom, and the bad guys
may unencrypt your files. A better strategy is to ignore the request for
a ransom and just restore your backed up files; this is one reason
regular backups are so important.
But the best strategy is to avoid the ransomware in the first place; you
can do this by installing a strong security system. In addition, follow
all the standard online safety rules:
1. Don't open email attachments or click on links within emails from
2. Stick to well-known internet sites, and be thoughtful about where you
3. Don't accept file transfers from unknown sources.
4. Keep your applications up to date (with the real updates your system
5. Never give personal information, such as login data, to someone
calling you from out of the blue. If it's a company you do business with,
always call them back at a number you already know.
It's almost Halloween, but don't be spooked by the Fantom! Take
precautions, and make sure your computer gets the treats and not the
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