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How to rescue your PC from ransomware

Eric Geier | Jan. 14, 2014
With the nasty CryptoLocker malware making the rounds--encrypting its victims' files, and then refusing to provide the unlock key unless a payment of $300 is made via Bitcoin or a prepaid cash voucher--ransomware is back in the spotlight.

If you don't have a backup system in place, you might be able to recover some files from Shadow Volume Copies — if the malware hasn't deleted them. Shadow Volume Copies is part of Windows' System Restore feature. Either right-click Select files/folders and open Properties to view the Previous Versions list, or use a program called Shadow Explorer to browse the snapshots.

But don't rely on that. Start backing up your PC today, and do it regularly.

Preventing ransomware and malware infections
Avoiding ransomware is much the same as avoiding other types of other malware.

Always run a good antivirus utility and keep Windows and browser-related components (Java, Adobe, and the like) updated. Keep your browser clean to prevent adware invasions that could lead to malware infections. Always, always be wary of unexpected email attachments and spam. (CryptoLocker spreads via .zip files sent as email attachments, for example.)

And just to beat this dead horse one more time: Always have a good backup system in place, just in case your PC does become infected and you can't recover your files. Yes, it's that important.

 

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