Don’t Pay the Ransom! How to Avoid Ransomware

F-Secure Labs has found that Ransomware is on the rise.

What is Ransomware?

It is malware that upon infection expands Internet Explorer to a full screen (F11). Ransomware then displays a message claiming to be from a local police unit. The message usually states that your computer has been used to browse sites containing child and animal abuse. It also might claim that your PC has been used to send e-mail spam on topics related to terrorism. Or you may be accused of piracy. Thus your computer has been locked until a fine is paid.

It’s scary and the Labs has seen it in Finland, Germany and various other European countries. As with all malware, if it works, it will end up all over the world eventually.

The Labs reminds you: “If your computer is ever compromised by Ransomware, do not pay anything to the malware authors.”

In almost all cases, paying the fine does not free up your computer anyway. Also remember that neither the Finnish police nor any other Police in the world uses Paysafe, Ucash, PayPal or any other prepaid billing systems for fines. If any message is demanding your credit card or any other payment method it is most certainly a scam and not legitimate government official.

How can you prevent ransomware?

1. Keep your PC updated with the latest system and security software. Our Health Check makes that easy.

2. Especially update your Acrobat PDF reader to the latest version, or switch to another PDF reader.

3. Update your Java runtime. Or, if you do not need Java, it is highly advisable to uninstall it. If you do need Java, at least consider disabling it within the browser when not in use. Or, switch to Google Chrome which will ask before Java is executed from unknown sites.

Cheers,

Anna

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Why your Apple Watch will probably never be infected by malware

On Tuesday Apple announced its latest iPhone models and a new piece of wearable technology some have been anxiously waiting for -- Apple Watch. TechRadar describes the latest innovation from Cupertino as "An iOS 8-friendly watch that plays nice with your iPhone." And if it works like your iPhone, you can expect that it will free of all mobile malware threats, unless you decide to "jailbreak" it. The latest F-Secure Labs Threat Report clears up one big misconception about iOS malware: It does exist, barely. In the first half of 2014, 295 new families and variants or mobile malware were discovered – 294 on Android and one on iOS.  iPhone users can face phishing scams and Wi-Fi hijacking, which is why we created our Freedome VPN, but the threat of getting a bad app on your iOS device is almost non-existent. "Unlike Android, malware on iOS have so far only been effective against jailbroken devices, making the jailbreak tools created by various hacker outfits (and which usually work by exploiting undocumented bugs in the platform) of interest to security researchers," the report explains. The iOS threat that was found earlier this year, Unflod Baby Panda, was designed to listen to outgoing SSL connections in order to steal the device’s Apple ID and password details. Apple ID and passwords have been in the news recently as they may have played a role in a series of hacks of celebrity iCloud accounts that led to the posting of dozens of private photos. Our Mikko Hypponen explained in our latest Threat Report Webinar that many users have been using these accounts for years, mostly to purchase items in the iTunes store, without realizing how much data they were actually protecting. But Unflod Baby Panda is very unlikely to have played any role in the celebrity hacks, as "jailbreaking" a device is still very rare. Few users know about the hack that gives up the protection of the "closed garden" approach of the iOS app store, which has been incredibly successful in keeping malware off the platform, especially compared to the more open Android landscape. The official Play store has seen some infiltration by bad apps, adware and spamware -- as has the iOS app store to a far lesser degree -- but the majority of Android threats come from third-party marketplaces, which is why F-Secure Labs recommends you avoid them. The vast majority of iPhone owners have never had to worry about malware -- and if the Apple Watch employs the some tight restrictions on apps, the device will likely be free of security concerns. However, having a watch with the power of a smartphone attached to your body nearly twenty-four hours a day promises to introduce privacy questions few have ever considered.    

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