What Should You Do When You Are Being Held As A Cyber Hostage?

When you are on the computer you tend to think of that world as virtual. As well as you should. In the past the computer world was not connected to anything that we did in real life so there was a good reason for them to be seen as separate entities. But these days you cannot afford to look at one and not think of the other. You have to look at the cyber world and the real world as one thing if you want to keep your data safe. There is too much that we do now in the cyber world that affects us in real life. And you must take that serious if you are going to be safe online.


For example, a lot of us do our banking online now. It took people awhile to feel comfortable doing it but now more and more people are starting to take the plunge. But you have to realize that before you do take the plunge, what you are dealing with. Yes, for the most part banking online is safe. But that does not mean that there cannot be some dangers that are involved with it. It is just like the dangers that you face when you are banking in the real world. You have to be careful when you go to the ATM at night. If you are not careful then you face a real chance of being robbed. Well it’s the same thing when you are online. If you do not follow certain rules to keep yourself safe then you might find yourself in trouble.

There are several ways that you can find yourself in trouble online. Most of the time the way you will hear about is when you contract a virus on your computer. Or it might not be a virus; it might be some other type of malware such as a Trojan. Either way, there is a good chance that the infection that you received has gotten some type of media attention at some point. But what does not get a lot of media attention are cyber hijackings and they happen all of the time on the web these days.

What is a cyber hijacking?

When you are taken hostage in real life, you are abducted or you are trapped in a place that you know and you are not allowed to leave. There are different levels of being a hostage but the idea is the same. Well becoming a cyber hostage is sort of like that but it is not you that is taken hostage but the data that is on your computer.

What is happening is that there was a malicious program introduced to your computer. The programs that do this sort of stuff mostly masquerades as some type of security software. Once you hit the button to install it in your computer, it then proceeds to lock down the files on your system. Sometimes the files have some sort of encryption that is ran on there to lock the files but most of the time it is just some sort of registry hack that is done. You will then receive a pop up that says unless you pay a certain amount of money you will not be able to access your files again. For some infections like this it will say that they are trying to help you but you need to buy their software to be able to get the infection off to access your files again. This is not true. They are the infection and they just want your credit card number. They will charge you once and then they will charge you several more times until you shut down that card. This is how they make their money and how attacks like this are worth it.

How to avoid attacks like this from happening to you

If you want to make sure that this does not happen to you there are several ways that you can. First of all, just make sure that you only install programs from trusted sources. Also make sure that you have up to date antivirus software running on your computer. These types of attacks are widespread but there are not that many of them out there compared to other types of attacks. But they are also harder to deal with. This means that antivirus companies make sure that they have the up to the minute protection on these types of attacks.

Also remember, that if it does happen to you do not give the attacker any kind of money. You are only encouraging their activities and they will seek to use your card and information later on down the road. If you need help to get the infection off then you should go to a professional and not the person who attacked you.

Attacks like these are underreported but they happen all of the time. Try and make sure it does not happen to you.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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