I think most everyone has heard me talk about Malware, spyware, virus's etc. Well we have a new one Ransomware. If you have been watching the news you probably have heard about the virus Cryptolocker. This is a virus that scans your hard drive and looks for certain file extensions like doc, xlt, jpeg, otd, etc. It then encrypts the file so it can no longer be opened with out a key. Once it has done it's job it then posts a message giving you a certain amount of time to pay $300 to get the key or loose your files.
From what I have read no of the anti-virus programs are capable of defending against this virus right now. The good news is there is a number of ways you can defend your computer against this attack. Doing a little research into this it seems it is delivered through social engineering. Which means it tricks the user to click on a link in an email.
I know we have talked about this before, but it bare mentioning again. DO NOT click on any link in an email unless you are certainly sure it is a legit link. If it is someone you know send them an email back and ask them if they sent the email or type the link into the URL address box but also pay attention to what you are typing and if it looks funny don't go there.
The majority of Windows users run in Administrative mode. Unfortunately this is the default for windows. As opposed to a secure OS defaults to a limited user account. When you are running in Admin then anything can be installed, which lead to things like this. So if you create a user account that only has limited permissions and use it to surf the net and read email. This will or should prevent an executable from being installed on your system.
Another thing is to make backups of your data and keep those backups on a device not connected to your computer. OCH does the best backup by creating disk images of his hard drive. That way he can simply over write the infected disk. But if you do just a simple backup of coping your files off to a flash drive and then unplugging it then in the worse case you can simply do a reinstall, run updates and then simply reinstall your files.
For you tech savvy folks here is a link that will walk you through setting up a security profile.
As always make sure you run your updates for both the system and anti-viruse software on a regular basis. I sure hope non of you get caught up in this, because it is nasty!!!