I came across this article over the weekend that was on the Contra Costa Times website discussing how to recover from ransomware and ways to avoid it altogether.  Ransomware is a type of malware or malicious software that enters your computer through a download of some type.  It could be freeware or shareware or a fraudulent email attachment.  It can then lock up and encrypt your computer’s hard drive restricting your access completely.  The most common message people are receiving is from someone impersonating a government agency. They may accuse you of some type of cyber crime such as child pornography, copyright or criminal code law breaking.   They are then demanding payment usually through some odd route (PayPal or foreign payment methods) in order to unlock your computer. If you don’t pay the fine you are threatened with criminal prosecution.

Tips on Avoiding Ransomware

•  Do not download files from unknown or suspicious sources.

•  Use an anti-virus program and make sure you are running the latest version.

How to Recover from Ransomware

If your computer has been infected and you cant access anything here are so options:

  1.  If you are highly technical you may be able to get into your machine and locate and remove the virus.  For most computers users this is not an option. The people who make malicious code also work very hard to make it difficult to remove their malicious code.

  2.  If you kept good backups, you could restore to a prior point (from before your computer was infected with the ransomware).

  3.  Use data recovery software to recover the files from the infected drive.

How to use data recovery software to recover from ransomware

Prosoft’s award-winning (Editor’s Choice by PC Magazine) Data Rescue PC3 is hard drive recovery software that can recover files from a hard drive that has been infected with ransomware. This recovery software, developed by Prosoft Engineering, is able to run as an application within Windows or as an emergency boot disk. The purpose of this software is strictly for recovery and does not try to repair or write to the drive that has been infected or corrupted.  It is extremely important to recover your data files before any repairs to the system are made.

If drive repair is attempted before data recovery, the lost files may be overwritten during the process and become permanently lost. Data Rescue PC3 comes on an emergency boot CD to boot the computer via a proprietary operating system. This allows the lost computer files to be recovered to a second drive while keeping the infected drive untouched.

Prosoft offers a FREE demo of Data Rescue PC3 so you can try it before you buy and see what files are recoverable.