There’s some nasty malware showing up in inboxes right now, disguised as fake receipts and documents, or delivered on web sites from a very fake ‘You must update your… ‘ message. While these have always been a major source of computer attacks, the current batch deserves special prevention and backups. CryptoWall 2.0, CryptoLocker, and other ransomware arrive quietly, encrypt all your documents in the background, and then place a ransom notice on your screen, asking for payment in Bitcoins or an untraceable money order. The encryption is not breakable on most variations of this ransomware; the best defenses are to never work with an administrator account (use ‘standard’ or ‘limited’), and to backup your entire computer on a schedule, and unplug the backup device between backups–these programs encrypt every document they can see, even on backup drives and networks.
We have more information on prevention, either do-it-yourself or as a service, here. And we can help with the cleanup, in central Maryland.