Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Kiwi computers held for ransom

David Hallett
Chief Nerd
Need A Nerd

EMBARGOED UNTIL THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 6AM:

Kiwi computers held for ransom

NEW ZEALAND, October 16, 2013: Computer users are being extorted out of hundreds of dollars by a new form of cyber-criminal who holds precious personal data to ransom.

Ransomware, a new form of malicious software also known as malware, installs itself on your computer and demands payment before it can be removed.

“We’ve seen infection grow from one customer’s machine in 2008 to 173 so far this year,” said one of Need A Nerd’s Chief Nerds David Hallett.

“It’s as though the highwayman of old tales has made the jump to the digital age and is terrorising the information super highway which we know as the internet.”

The CryptoLocker software is the newest form of ransomware.

“Upon infection it acts in stealth, silently encrypting your data. Once precious family photos, vital Microsoft Word documents, spreadsheets and email are all encoded it sends the unique encryption key to the writer and the ransom begins,” Hallett warns.

CryptoLocker demands you pay a ransom of several hundred dollars or face the deletion of the encryption key in three days.

“Unless you pay the ransom, you will lose access to any files that have been encrypted.”

Hallett described the new threat as more severe than the FBI or NZ Police virus which accuses users of criminal activity online and seeks payment to make the computer usable again.
“It’s important to understand that the CryptoLocker ransomware is not bluffing,” Hallett warns.

Internet security software, such as ESET Smart Security or Norton 360 Multi-Device, might protect you from CryptoLocker but the writers of ransomware are always trying to find their way around it.

“Because new versions of ransomware are being released frequently, it is important that systems are receiving regular virus database updates,” Hallett says.

“The simple way to avoid being snared as a victim of this new and effective form of ransomware is to ensure you regularly backup your files to an external location.”

ABOUT NEED A NERD
Need A Nerd is a specialist onsite computer and technology service with branches all over New Zealand. For more see www.needanerd.co.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Starts Talks On Tougher Rules For Property Speculators

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is stepping up preparations to restrict lending to residential property investors as it watches house prices, particularly in Auckland, continue to rise strongly. More>>

ALSO:

Research: ‘Ageing Well’ Science Challenge Launched

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today launched the Ageing Well National Science Challenge, confirming initial funding of $14.6 million. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Govt Resisting Pressure To Pump More Cash Into Solid Energy

Prime Minister John Key says it is “not the government’s preferred option” to make a fresh capital injection into the troubled state-owned coal miner, Solid Energy, but dodged journalists’ questions at his weekly press conference on whether that might prove necessary... More>>

ALSO:

Lagest Ever Privacy Breach Award: NZCU Baywide Accepts “Severe” Censure In Cake Case

NZCU Baywide says that once it was found to have committed a breach of a former staff member’s privacy, it had attempted to resolve the matter... the censure and remedies for its actions taken almost three years ago are “severe” but accepted, and will hopefully draw a line under the matter. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: PayPal Stops Processing Mega Payments; NZX Listing Still On

PayPal has ceased processing payments for Mega, the file storage and encryption firm looking to join the New Zealand stock market via a reverse listing of TRS Investments, amid claims it is not a legitimate cloud storage service. More>>

ALSO:

Housing Policy: Auckland Densification As Popular As Ebola, English Says

Finance Minister Bill English said calls by the Reserve Bank Governor for more densification in Auckland’s housing were “about as popular in parts of Auckland as Ebola” would be. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news