Hidey Ho Scribblers! J Monkeys here. This week I want to talk about something important: Ransom. Not the plot device that throws your characters together, the Mel Gibson movie, nor the very good book by Julie Garwood. No, I’m talking about ransom-ware.
This past Monday morning, I was doing my usual routine. Hubby was in the shower getting ready for work and I was online, trolling for an episode walkthrough of last week’s True Blood. (I must have my weekly Eric Northman fix!) All of a sudden, my computer screen blinked off and a new screen came up. It had a big, scary FBI logo and a square where my webcam was activated, showing a not-terribly-attractive-unwashed-morning version of me. I read the first line, “This PC has been locked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for downloading illegal MP3 files, videos, etc.”
Um, I’ve never downloaded an illegal MP3 in my life, in large part because I don’t know how. Every MP3 file on my PC was bought from iTunes or copied off of CDs I own. The only videos I ever watch are on YouTube and I’m pretty conservative when it comes to viewing….um…adult content, shall we say.
So I was pretty quickly convinced that this was some kind of mistake or something. I told Hubby about it (he’s a techy guy) and he came to look at my screen (while wearing just a towel, I thought I had told him about the webcam…) Hubby read both the first and second line of the screen and quickly came to a new conclusion. Line two read, “Pay $200 to the address below in the next 72 hours or your computer will be permanently locked.”
Huh?! I’m pretty sure the FBI wouldn’t be asking me for $200. I mean, if I had committed a crime and they were looking for me, wouldn’t they want to arrest me and charge me? Hubby told me that this is a Ransom-ware virus made to scare people into forking over some cash.
Sadly, it took my very computer savvy husband two nights to get my PC back to normal. Here’s a link to the directions in case anybody’s curious. And in that time, I had an epiphany. The only things that I have backed up on a flash drive are my two completed novels. I have eight completed books right now and four in the works. Several of my books have extensive illustrations or research. And what about my personal stuff, tax returns, resumes, pictures, etc? I’m going to get it all backed up next week.
This week’s secret: Up to date antivirus software is very important!
This week’s question: Do you have your work backed up somewhere?