As years go by, I become more and more shocked at the lengths people will go to extort money from us. We’ve all heard of viruses, spam, and other bugs that don’t actually crawl, cause the common cold, or breathe air, but rather the kind that infect our data and computers, and the kinds of people that put them there; criminals. And then there are those who steal our identities and have their way with our bank accounts and our good credit. But wait… there’s more!
So what’s the newest weapon in these criminals’ arsenal? Ransomware! Our computer files have become the new Lindbergh baby!
I received an email a few weeks ago at work from my Anti-Malware software company, notifying me of the dangers of ransomware. I said to myself, “ransomware? What the heck is ransomware?” Needless to say, I read the article.
These criminals (yes, they are criminals) are getting inside of our computers and other devices and holding our files hostage, or for ransom. They encrypt the files so they aren’t accessible until you pay the ransom. Even after the ransom is received, there’s no guarantee that they’ll give up the access code to get the files released. This could mean big problems for photographers who store all of their hard work on computers and similar devices. If your computer gets infected with a ransomware virus, it can get inside of the storage devices as well. Yes, external hard drives, and the little USB flash drives too!
Imagine if every document, every photo, every saved memory on your computer is suddenly gone; imagine if you’re a professional photographer and every photo you’ve taken and all of your records of sale, etc. were gone! Heck, I get upset when I have to remember a long forgotten password when an email account gets locked up; I couldn’t imagine losing all of my photos, and I just started shooting with the DSLR.
I’ve done some online research and found a few websites that might be of interest to you all. I highly suggest everyone read up on it and heed the warnings. The best defense is a good offense. Combat these guys before they infect you.
If these sites don’t answer all of your questions, you may want to look to your own protection software company for more info. Good luck!