Before I talk about PC Maintenance I want to take a minute to relate a very specific story to you. Have you ever noticed that if it can go wrong it will go wrong…. But only if it will cause you the most distress or discomfort.
It happened to me whilst on my belated honeymoon in June 2016. Rome is a wonderful city in the true sense of the word. A city full of wonders. However, the high volume of visitors leads to some annoyances; people selling selfie sticks are everywhere as are people trying to sell you tours, but the one that invoked sodas law for me was less savoury, the pick pocket.
My wallet with cash and all my cards and my UK driving licence was stolen just a few days into the honeymoon.
Identity theft, money problems due to no access to bank accounts and a million other thoughts not to mention how silly I felt ran through my mind at the speed of light. Rush hour Metro trains are a hazard for tourists.
What has this got to do with PC Maintenance?
As we are all probably aware, crime isn’t just limited to the real world, neither is the loss of valuables. Take your home computer, think of what is stored on there today:-
- Pictures of holidays, weddings, family and friends
- Family history
- Documents, maybe a digital diary, copies of club minutes
- Music files
- Video of family holidays
One of the biggest threats out there today is a piece of malware called Crypto Locker, it has been around for a while but has developed into a very effective way for criminals to hold you to ransom.
As some point the Crypto Locker program finds its way onto your PC, this can be via an innocuous pop-up that you close. The close button be it the cross in the top right or the close button is just a button, close and the cross can be programmed to mean close and download just as quickly as they can to be close only.
Once on your PC the malware starts working in the background encrypting your hard drive starting with your User folder where all your documents, music, pictures and video are usually stored.
Once the program has reached a predetermined level of encryption, say 50% of your hard drive a warning message will appear informing you that you have a certain number of days to make a payment (often a postal order or at a Payment Point) in exchange for the 256 bit encryption key needed to unlock your data. Along with that message you will be told that failure to pay by the given date will result in destruction of the key leaving your drive encrypted with no way of recovering the data.
It’s not like in the movies
In the movies the hero always guesses the password or cracks the encryption, in real life things are seldom as easy. Sure if you locked yourself out of your PC I could change your password for you in less than 5 minutes quite often, but cracking encryption? That’s a completely different ball game.
Breaking a symmetric 256-bit key by brute force requires 2128 times more computational power than a 128-bit key. Fifty supercomputers that could check a billion billion (1018) AES keys per second (if such a device could ever be made) would, in theory, require about 3×1051 years to exhaust the 256-bit key space.
With the Crypto Locker people often believe that their Anti-Virus or Anti-Malware program will protect them, not so. Because you clicked on the button that allowed the program to be downloaded, the first action of the program may well be to disable your protection program.
If I pay up (often hundreds of GBP) will they actually provide the key? Usually the answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be targeted again.
Is there a way to protect myself from Crypto Locker attacks? Yes.
There is a solution that actually prevents this menace from getting onto your PC but it started me thinking, it may be that Crypto Locker isn’t the culprit for you, maybe it’s a hard drive crash, or a lightning strike that causes a power spike that damages data written to your drive or a million other reasons for data loss. Could I include this protection and some other really useful services in a PC Maintenance Package for Home Users?
The typical cost of data recovery starts at £99.00. Virus removal starts at £60.00. The majority of my clients call me out twice a year with the average bill per visit being about £60.00.
That’s a possible £389 annual computer bill on a bad year and £120 on a good one.
What you get:
- A complete Crypto Solution to prevent infection – supports any Windows version (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 – including Windows ‘Home’ editions)
- Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware with FREE virus removal if you get an infection
- A Cloud Backup solution up to 20Gb of data
- Free SAME DAY Online Remote Support from CTS (when logged through the helpdesk)
PC Maintenance Package for Home Users – First Computer £24.97 per month
PC Maintenance Package for Home Users – Second and subsequent computers £12.97 per month
Want to know more?