If your computer was infected with ransomware that not only locked you out of your machine, but repeatedly blasted an audio file that states the reason why you’re locked out is because you violated some copyright laws & you’ll have to fork over some cash to regain access to your files.
Oh, wait.... that could totally happen.
For the past few months, cybercriminals have begun increasingly using ransomware to extort money out of unwitting end-users. Typically the user is just shown a message accusing them of anything from illegal file-sharing to viewing child pornography, denied access to use their computer for anything more than an oversized paperweight and instructed to pay a hefty “fine” to regain access.
According to TrendMicro researchers, new variants of ransomware add a “non-malicious” .MP3 file to the mix, which will undoubtedly drive users even more insane as it repeatedly informs them that their system is blocked because they violated federal laws and that they’ll have to pay a $200 fine to make it all go away.
TrendMicro detects the new threats as TROJ_RANSOM.CXB and TROJ_RANSOM.AAF. The message displayed to the end user is shown below:
Removing ransomware varies from infection to infection; it all depends on how the author configured the malware to lock you out.
Regardless how the ransomware operates, users are urged not to pay the cybercrook to have their PC “unlocked.” There’s no guarantee that the cybercriminal will follow through with their promise to unlock your machine, and 9/10 the payment method used eliminates any possibility of retrieving your funds in the event that they don’t keep their word.
Instead, do what you can to prevent the infection in the first place, and if your PC does wind up getting infected, you can either research the removal steps for the specific piece of ransomware on your machine, or take your computer to be repaired by a professional.
How to Keep Your PC Safe from Ransomware
- Keep your operating system and installed third-party software patched and up-to-date.
- Always run antivirus software that offers real-time scanning features, and be sure to keep the virus definitions current.
- If you don’t need or use it, consider removing Java from your computer.
- Do not download files attached to emails from unknown or untrusted sources.
- Always remain vigilant and investigate suspicious website links before clicking on them.
Photo Credit: Don Hankins
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