If you ever worry about how sophisticated cybercriminals are getting, you're not alone. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is worried about hackers, too.
With good reason. If you remember, the White House, President Obama and thousands of federal employees have had their personal data hacked in recent months. It's likely sophisticated, government-sponsored hack teams are behind many of these.
The good news is that the FBI has your back when it comes to hackers, most of the time. But, even the FBI has its limitations, and it's warning corporations of those limitations.
If you or your company have been hacked by a nefarious government, or suspect you have been, the FBI will help you out. But when it comes to ransomware, when hackers demand money or threaten to blackmail you, steal your money, or worse, the FBI suggests you pay up.
The FBI was warning companies about ransomware attacks earlier this month at the Cyber Security Summit 2015 in Boston. They primarily warned about a few types of ransomware, including Reveton, Cryptolocker and Cryptowall.
Cryptowall is the most prevalent ransomware in the United States. In fact, the FBI fielded nearly 1,000 complaints about it from April 2014 to June 2015; those attacks cost victims $18 million.
With this malware, which is often sent as an email attachment, phishing emails or malware advertising, hackers take over your computer and encrypt your hard-drive and other directories. Security measures like passwords are disguised to look like something else, so you can't get in.
The FBI warned that if your computer is encrypted by a hacker, it may not be possible to get your information back without paying ransom. "The ransomware is that good," an FBI official said at the conference.
The FBI's thinking on paying ransom to hackers is that the more people who pay up, the less the hackers will demand out of individual victims. Note: If you are the victim of a ransomware attack, immediately call your local FBI office before you take any action.