Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New Reason to Back up Your Files!

Here's a new reason I hadn't seen before to back up your personal (and business!) data - data hostage-taking. I saw this on the FBI site. Certainly you wouldn't want someone getting onto your computer and copying or taking your private data. Nor copying/taking/destroying data on a service provider of yours. But how about someone installing malicious code that simply encrypts the data, to be unlocked only if you go somewhere and provide an anonymous source and automatic payment? Seems like you'd then be in an endless loop of harrassment and blackmail, plus have identified yourself as a recurring source of revenue for the "business".

If the data was important enough, I'd be tempted to pay....when your data is copied/moved/destroyed (with no recourse), there's nothing to do but cope. In this situation, there may be some hope, so I'll bet more people than not would. If the 'business' were smart, they'd take the payment and return the goods, setting themselves up as a reputable and trustworthy (!) business partner - one that I would likely continue to pay, to get my data back. At least until I managed to control the security/privacy leak on my computer. Solution - back up your important data, or at least encrypt and hide it, with a non-descript label, somewhere inconspicuous on the hard drive. Better off, do this on removable (scanned) media.

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