Beware: Local Couple Victimized by Ransomware, Computer Files Held Hostage

“When we went to our word files and pictures, they all have this little quadrant flower in it,”  says David Snyderburn.  His and his wife Deborah found out the innocent looking flower was a bad thing.

“It says the file is corrupt and cannot be opened,” he says as he points to a message on his computer.

All of the Snyderburn’s documents and pictures have been hijacked by someone out there.  They are the victims of a growing crime where crooks use something literally called “ransomware” to infect files and then demand payment from unsuspecting people like this couple.  In this case, the ransom was first listed as $700.  When they didn’t pay however it jumped to $1,400.

And it says service to to de-crypt the files. to continue please enter the code.”

“It tells you right here your files are encrypted you did not pay in time for the decryption,” says Snyderburn.

In this case, the ransom was demanded in Bitcoins (Internet currency).  They made the decision immediately they’re went paying and sought out the help of a computer technician.  “But he said they couldn’t do anything about it because they’re not sure where the virus attaches,” said Snyderburn.

Experts say it’s unlikely the thieves would restore their files if they did pay and that about the best they can do now is clean their computer and start over.  Snyderburn says he’s not sure if their anti-virus software and firewall protection was really up to date. In most cases, it’s assume the virus gets onto someone’s computer through an email that may have an attachment or a link.  So you’re advised never to open an attachment or click on a link when receiving an email from a stranger. ” Don’t open emails you’re not familiar with and especially the attachments because there’s no telling what you’ll get,” says Snyderburn.

At this point, the couple may have no choice but to wipe most of their computer clean and start over.

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