New ransomware scams could cost you

Reporter: Rich Kolko Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

Hackers are out there trying to make you their victim, but now a new computer crime also makes you an accessory.

It’s called ransomware, and it could cost you.

Cybercriminals are using it to seize people’s data, everything from baby photos to extensive company propriety information, and holding it for ransom until the target pays up.

But even if you want those photos back, it may be against treasury rules. A new advisory this week says you may be fined for paying the ransom. These fines could go into the millions of dollars.

This cybercrime is running rampant. Several cities, police departments, schools and hospitals in Florida have been victims. And paying does not mean a quick return of your data.

If the hackers get your data the Department of Treasury, the FBI and Homeland Security all recommend you don’t pay, but do say you should contact law enforcement.

A couple of things you can do in advance are: keep your operating systems up-to-date, regularly back data and double-check that backups are completed, and be sure to secure those backups.

Make sure your backups are not connected to the exact computers and networks you’re backing up. Lastly, Make sure the anti-virus and anti-malware software you have is set up to automatically update and run regular scans.

The FBI says there was a nearly 40% annual increase in complaints and losses from these types of ransomware issues are up almost 150%.

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