Danger, Will Robinson!
There have been so many warnings in the media lately, that they almost have become a blur of white-noise.
If you’ve never encountered ransomware, viruses or trojans - consider yourself lucky!
CryptoLocker is ransomware that completely encrypts all your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Pictures, Videos & Music - unless you pay a fine.
In the past, there have been relatively simple workarounds to remove such ransomware from your computer, but CryptoLocker is an especially persistent piece of ransomware that demands affected users pay a $300 fee if they ever want to see their files again.
Infected users have 72 hours to pay the ransom, and according to some users, the hackers behind CryptoLocker have been keeping their word and decrypting the computers of those who shell out US$300 via a MoneyPak card or 0.3 Bitcoins (which converts to about $300 USD).
Are there any other options?
There are some relatively simple things you can do to protect against most of these - the obvious one is AntiVirus software. Having AntiVirus software is your first line of defense.
Secondly having a regular backup that is rotated regularly is mandatory. Interestingly, people that had backups, but left them plugged into the computer, also had their backup files encrypted and made useless.
Thirdly, there are some basic best practices that can be implemented on your computers so that programs can't just do what they want when they want. Unfortunately the default security on most computers allows any program to do whatever it wants.