CryptoLocker is one of the newest viruses out there. Also known as ‘ransomware’, this targets computers that are running Microsoft Windows. CryptoLocker usually comes in the form of an email attachment, and tends to target Office documents and PDF’s. It will encrypt these files and try to force you to pay money to get them unencrypted. There is only a three-day window of time in which you can pay this ransom for them to give you back your encrypted files. After this time frame has passed, you can no longer pay to have your files unencrypted.
Although you can remove CryptoLocker, un-encrypting the files will prove near impossible. The best way to protect yourself against this type of attack is to make sure to regularly back up your data on your computer. If your information is backed up, then you can simply restore your data to a previous state before infection occurred.
Unsure how to perform a back-up of your computer? Follow these simple steps:
1. Open the Backup and Restore Center (Start button, Control Panel, System and Maintenance, Backup and Restore Center)
2. Click Backup Files button
3. Choose where to save your data. You can choose from a CD, DVD, external hard drive, USB drive, or a computer on the network. It is NOT recommended that you back up on the same drive Windows is currently running on.
4. Choose what type of files to backup. Choose from pictures, music, videos, documents, etc. Choose only the file type that are most important to you. Click next.
5. Choose how often you would like to back up (daily, weekly or monthly) and then the day and time for backups to occur. Click the Save and Start Backup button.
If this is the first backup you are performing on your computer, it will create a full backup- that is, everything on your computer will be backed-up. All future backups will be incremental, which is just the new or changed files on your computer.
If you were to go online and check out some of the retail stores are charging for virus removal, you would see they start at $99, and go upwards of $300! That’s a lot of money for something that you could easily do yourself. (For some tips on this, please visit this website. It has free tips and pointers for helping you get rid of viruses, spyware, malware, etc….)
If you have the skills to clean viruses out of computers, the biggest factor is getting your name out there. The best way to do this is by word of mouth. Start with your friends or family members and go from there. If you’re good at what you do, your name will get passed around. If you charge less than what the retail shops are charging, AND make house calls, you should get clients with little to no effort. If you need additional help in getting your name out there and how to reach more people, this course on getting more clients has some great ideas!
I would also team it up with basic computer repair. If you don’t have any experience in computer repair I would check out the local technical college in your area and see if you could sign up for an evening class on computer repair. One class will set you back about $350 to $500 but that’s all you need to break into the computer repair field. If you already have experience in repairing and cleaning computers then you just need to focus on getting new clients.
I would not recommend quitting your job and doing this but… If you are looking to make some money on the side, you can get into this very easily and try it out in the evenings and see how it works out. Most people would need you to stop by in the evenings when they are home so it works out great if you already have a job. As far as making a career out of it, you would have to keep up a steady stream of clients, and there is no way of knowing from one day to the next how many people would need your services. However, if you’re good at it and you work on getting your name out there and getting new clients, you can easily make plenty of extra play money.