By Austin - firstname.lastname@example.org
Malware is a general term used to describe all bad pieces of software; trojan, virus, worm, etc. However, a piece of malware called Ransomware has been around for a good handful of years and has been a nightmare for big data companies that store data; being personal identifiable information, financial data, company secrets and more.
Conceptually, if I was a pirate and wanted a piece of the newly discovered treasure, I would take a person of value hostage for a ransom; in this case the pirate treasure. Wanting it to go my way, I would give back the person of value once I obtain my demanded amount of treasure.
In the computer world, the idea is very similar, but instead of gold or diamonds, its data. How Ransomware works is through normal avenues of getting malware on to your computer; such as clickbait, email link, trojan, virus, or physical means such as a USB flash drive. This piece of code then executes itself from a remote trigger or spreads itself like a worm and encrypts specific amounts of data.
For example; a Ransomware code could encrypt your entire picture folder. This encryption has a key that the hacker/ bad guy has; but you don't, that re-enables you to access your picture folder. The caveat is the hacker gives you a message explaining the details they want you to know, to give them what they want. Most of the time it's money in Bitcoin, not dollars, euros, or yen. Once you give them money, in theory and in ethical means, they should give you the key to unlock your data, but what’s stopping them from just taking the money and running?
Big companies tend to just pay the ransom and attempt to get their data back due to not wanting the repercussions of customer doubt and liability, but for those of us with information that isn't as sensitive to data loss, the best step and really only step is to just format the hard drive, or get a new hard drive and deal with the data loss, because the value the hacker may put on your data may not be worth it.
As a technician here at RJM Computers, I have seen all sorts of malware on customers computers and have been able to remove most of the malware out there, but encrypted data from Ransomware makes it impossible to recover that data. Easiest step is to just walk it off and start over. This isn't that hard to do if you have backups of your data files.
If you need help with any kind of computer malware problem or hardware issue, please contact the RJM Computers Service Department at 208-472-2800 Option 2. You will be connected directly to a qaulified Service Technician. Or, stop in at 4524 W. Overland in Boise.