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Windows users beware: New ransomware can lock you out of your PC

It hasn’t been the easiest time for Windows 10 users recently. While Microsoft’s signature operating system is more popular than ever, it’s suffered a variety of significant security issues in its time on the market.

Naturally, these threats have prompted Microsoft to issue several patches to plug up security holes in the platform. Unfortunately, these haven’t all gone over so well. Tap or click to see how one patch broke internet access and more for some users.

But now, a new security threat is staring down Windows users — and security patches can’t help you. A terrifying new malware has been unleashed, and not only does it encrypt your files, but it leaves users and admins with no backdoor access. If you email or download frequently, watch out for this ransomware.

SNAKE in the grass

Researchers and white-hat hackers associated with MalwareHunterTeam have discovered a new type of ransomware attack they’ve dubbed SNAKE.

This ransomware stealthily infects systems and encrypts files without the user’s knowledge. Then, once the user logs on again, it demands a ransom in exchange for access. But unlike other ransomware attacks, SNAKE slithers a bit deeper into your system than you’d expect and disables remote management.

Remote management, which allows users to log into their computer as the admin from another system, is one of the backbones of ransomware recovery in the cybersecurity field. With remote management disabled, there are no longer any backdoor methods to access a compromised system.

If SNAKE gets on your computer, your files are pretty much toast. As a gesture of kindness (and to show they really mean business), the hackers who run the SNAKE malware give you the option to have 3 files of your choice decrypted as “proof” that they’ll unlock your system if you pay.

But MalwareHunterTeam still cautions against this, as there’s no stopping the hackers from simply hitting you again and relocking the files you freed after you pay. As of now, there’s no top-down fix or patch to address SNAKE. It appears to be a sophisticated, custom-designed piece of malware.

Am I vulnerable? What can I do to protect my system?

SNAKE is confirmed to be spreading in the wild, so prevention is the best step to avoid getting hit.

Thankfully, like all other malware, this program must be installed by the user (intentionally or not) to function. To avoid this, the same standard rules apply with email attachments, downloads and webpages: If it’s not 100% familiar to you, avoid it like the plague!

Never download any email attachments you aren’t completely sure about. Never provide personal information to any entities online, or let them convince you to install anything you’re not intimately familiar with.

A common way hackers implant malware is via tech support scams. They claim to be “agents” who need access to your system to “clear out a virus” and they’ll instruct you to download “remote management” software, but this is usually loaded with malware. Tap or click here to learn more about the dangers of tech support scams.

Ultimately, to stay safe from the SNAKE, stay away from the places hackers frequent, such as illegal download sites or questionable websites. Remember, your computer is only as safe as you are.

You can also prevent hackers from using ransomware to take over your computer by backing up your data with IDrive. Sign up today and get 90% off of your first year. Just go to IDrive.com and use promo code Kim at checkout.

Bonus: Windows 7 and lower users aren’t out of the woods yet.

Windows users who are loathe to upgrade their operating systems are facing another security threat aimed squarely at them. An Internet Explorer security bug identified by Microsoft has been confirmed to be found in the wild, and the company has committed to developing a patch to address the issue.

For reference, Microsoft is internally referring to this bug as CVE-2020-0674.

This IE bug takes advantage of a memory exploit, and all it would take for a hacker to seize control is a quick link to a malicious website. Until the patch is released, we would highly advise Windows 7 and below users to take advantage of other web browsers instead of Internet Explorer.

Bugs or not, IE is quite underwhelming compared to pretty much everyone else. Tap or click here to see our favorite web browsers you can use today.

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