Tue, Dec 11, 2012 - Page 9 News List

Ransomware the latest threat to PCs — and their owners

Attackers that use a virus to hold a computer hostage have replaced the old ‘scareware’ threat and researchers say they have identified 16 ransomware gangs so far

By Nicole Perlroth  /  NY Times News Service, NEW YORK

One of the scarier things about ransomware is that criminals can use victims’ machines however they like. While the computer is locked, the criminals can steal passwords and even get into the victims’ online bank accounts.

Security experts warn to never pay the ransom. A number of vendors offer solutions for unlocking machines without paying the ransom, including Symantec, Sophos and F-Secure. The best solution is to visit a local repair shop to wipe the machine clean and reinstall backup files and software.

“This is the new Nigerian e-mail scam,” Haley said. “We’ll be talking about this for the next two years.”

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