An ever increasing number of people are being hit by a virus infection known as “ransomware”. Ransomware is so called because the malware installed on your computer generally shows you a screen which you cannot close, telling you that you need to pay in order to remove the message. We recently dealt with a customer who was presented with a very convincing screen branded as the Metropolitan Police, claiming that they could avoid charges for illegal internet browsing behavior if they paid an “on the spot fine”.
The danger of these infections is not the harm they do to your computer, but rather the fact that the realistic appearance can scare many people in to paying the money via PayPal – and either downloading more harmful malware which does further damage, or doing nothing at all.
There are, however, a few simple steps you can take to try and avoid doing damage to your computer and your bank balance!
1. Try to close the message – It may just be a rogue web page that has popped up like many internet ads. In this case close the window and run a malware scan immediately.
2. End the Program – If you cannot close the window, try opening Task Manager, and see if there is an open application that you can end which refers to the message.
3. Restart your machine – If you can access a reboot command, either from the start menu or using Ctrl, Alt, Del see if rebooting the machine will kill off the malware long enough for you to run a scan.
4. Safe Mode – If you have a very nasty infection rebooting into Safe Mode may be the last option, and from there running a scan. Safe Mode will normally stop infections from running as it only starts necessary Windows files.
The most important thing to remember if you think you may have been affected by ransomware is to make sure you never enter your card details or pay money to anyone unless you are sure why you are doing it and where it is going. If you have any doubts about your computer’s security, you should contact an IT professional for advice.
If you think you have a virus on your machine, or you are worried about infections infiltrating your network Contact TLP Technology today or call 08000 32 34 00. We can carry out extensive PC Clean-ups from only £55.00 ex VAT.