Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
How does Ransomware work?
Computers become infected with ransomware and other viruses usually accomplished by tricking someone into clicking on a Universal Resource Locator (URL) or link.
Ransomware can also spread by clicking on an attachment.
Ransomware is largely distributed by email typically containing documents like fake mail delivery notifications, energy bills or tax returns, according to reports from security company Symantec.
When users click on a bad link or attachment, the ransomware encrypts the computer’s hard drive, locking people out of computer files, including photos and music libraries and a screen may appear threatening to destroy the files unless a ransom is paid.
Recent reports are now finding new ransomware that can infect computers without clicking on anything.
Windows Operating System Security
It is well known that Microsoft computers often called PC’s are the most vulnerable to viruses and malicious hacks.
Microsoft’s latest computer operating system Windows 10 comes equipped with security utilities that are designed to protect computers from malicious attacks but does not protect the computer from the user’s own mistakes and falling into Internet traps that invite problems directly.
Mac Operating System Security
Although Mac’s have been known to be immune to viruses that would normally infect a PC in the past, there are increasing reports confirming that mac computers are also at risk to viruses and can surely be infected with ransomware.
Apple has announced recently that they have revoked the digital certificate that is required for ransomware to be installed.
How can I protect my computers from Ransomware?
If you use a Mac or a PC it is essential that you stay on top of performing all of the latest and newly released operating system security updates. This alone makes a big difference as it pertains to security and even general performance.
There are many tech support companies that provide security services for home and business computer users. If you are not 100% confident that you can maintain your own computers and protect your data using a reliable backup solution you should contact a trustworthy tech support company and have a technician check and maintain your computer at least 1-2 times per year.
Ultimately, think of your computers, devices, and your network like you do your cars or even your physical body. You need to perform recurring maintenance and checkups to ensure the best health and performance. If you do not have the knowledge or expertise to do these things yourself, you should contact a professional.
A simple and easy way to speed up your computer is to clone your existing Windows or Mac hard drive to a new solid state hard drive. This should also give you peace of mind as it pertains to the local data stored on your computer. We use special software to make an exact copy of your current hard drive onto a new solid state hard drive. Many people think that adding more RAM is the only way to speed up a computer but that is false.
There are no moving parts to an SSD. Information is stored in microchips. This affects speed tremendously since your data is not limited by a mechanical arm with a read/write head. Your data is also safer due to this technology.
Do I still need to backup my data?
Yes, at Tech Help LA we highly emphasize the importance of backing up your data either locally or even better in a secure cloud such as Carbonite, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox. Even if your data is stored on a solid state drive you still should have a continuous and seamless data backup in place in case of a fire, theft, user error, or physical damage.
Contact us for a free phone chat and we can help you plan and schedule cloning your computer to a solid state drive and setting up your continuous back.
If you are using Google Voice, here is a tool that you may like to use on your Windows PC. This tool allows you to have the freedom to text and make calls using your computer rather than having to rely on your mobile device 100% of the time. At Tech Help LA we find it very useful and thought we would share it with others. Help is our middle name.
How to start System Restore by using the Command prompt
Note You must be logged on to Windows with a user account that is a computer administrator to complete these steps.
If a new program has made your computer behave unpredictably, and uninstalling the new program did not help, you can try the Windows XP System Restore tool.
Important If you have not previously set a restore point in System Restore, you cannot restore your computer to a previous state. If you are not sure, or if you have not previously set a restore point, contact Support.
To start System Restore using the Command prompt, follow these steps:
Restart your computer, and then press and hold F8 during the initial startup to start your computer in safe mode with a Command prompt.
Use the arrow keys to select the Safe mode with a Command prompt option.
If you are prompted to select an operating system, use the arrow keys to select the appropriate operating system for your computer, and then press ENTER.
Log on as an administrator or with an account that has administrator credentials.
At the command prompt, type %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe, and then press ENTER.
Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to restore your computer to a functional state.