“Your computer screen freezes with a pop-up message—supposedly from the FBI or another federal agency—saying that because you violated some sort of federal law your computer will remain locked until you pay a fine. Or you get a pop-up message telling you that your personal files have been encrypted and you have to pay to get the key needed decrypt them.
These scenarios are examples of ransomware scams, which involve a type of malware that infects computers and restricts users’ access to their files or threatens the permanent destruction of their information unless a ransom—anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars—is paid.”
We’ve run across a few instances of ransomware on client computers. These particular pieces of malware are just plain nasty. While we have been able to clean the computer, often data files, MS Office files, in particular, are encrypted and unrecoverable. In most cases, paying the ransom WILL NOT fix what has been damaged. The only way to recover the damaged files is from a clean backup if one is available.
Protecting your computer with good security software is the best way to keep from having to deal with this headache.