I get a lot of junk mail – who doesn’t! But the emails I want to warn you about are the ones with attachments. Some of them are “photos” and some of them are Word documents. They can contain viruses and, even worse, they can contain ransomware.
Ramsomware gets into your computer and encrypts everything on your hard drive. Then they ask you to pay, usually in bit coins, to get the unlock code to release your computer.
Don’t ever pay them!
There’s a couple of good reasons not to cough up the money:
- If they’ve already got the money there’s no incentive to send you the unlock code. So you’ve paid for nothing.
- If you do pay then they know they can attack you again and you’ll pay again.
Put on your big boy pants or your big girl blouse and ditch the hard drive.
So how do they get into your computer?
I’m not sure about the image files but the Word documents that end in dot docm have macros in them. If you were to open the document Word would ask you if you wanted to run the macro. And, of course, the macro is a script.
When you run that macro/script it corrupts everything on your hard drive and then it spreads to all the other devices in your network. I believe with image files, that a similar thing occurs, when you open the attachment (the image), a corruption occurs on your hard drive again, and then a ransom is demanded for the unlock code to your files. Again, do not pay them!
Please be super careful and don’t open any attachments unless they’re from someone you know and trust and you’re expecting an attachment from them.
I normally delete them from my inbox and continue on with life.