Be aware of ransomware via your computer
FOR 16 years Rockhampton computer guru Bruce Kerr had not seen anything like it.
He'd heard about them and knew they existed.
Then yesterday two of his clients, a Rockhampton retailer and a CQ mining supply company, became victims in the space of a few hours as they were held to ransom by computer hackers.
Mr Kerr, who has a weekly column in The Morning Bulletin, warns that new software is blocking access to computers, and the only way to get access back, is to pay a ransom, usually US$300. And that's exactly what Mr Kerr's two clients will have to do to get their data back.
"This is a first in 16 years and I hope it is not a sign of more to come," Mr Kerr said.
"Ransomware has always been around, but it's been more bark than bite usually, and just bluffs in the past.
"But what has changed is that the creators of a new type of software have made ransomware active and more efficient."
The ransomware is coming in the form of an email with a zip attachment, Mr Kerr warned.
The emails state that they're from a particular bank or global courier and look quite official, Mr Kerr said.
"Don't open an email you're not expecting, unless you know and trust the source," Mr Kerr said.
"Once you've got it there's no way of accessing your files or emails unless you meet the ransom."
Ransoms have been set around US$300.