Newsreader: Some Queensland businesses are being forced to pay ransoms to cyber criminals who break into their computer systems. The hackers use what’s known as Ransomware to lock users out of their own systems. Jonathan Lee has been investigating how it works.
Jonathan Lea: As our lives move online, we are becoming susceptible to attacks we once never thought possible. According to cyber crime expert, (Prof) Bill Caelli, the latest and most threatening is called Ransomware.
Bill Caelli: The attacker will get into your computer, will scramble the data in your computer and then demand money to unscramble it for you.
Jonathan Lea: The password can cost as little as $200. Each day you don’t pay, the price goes up. For a business locked out of its computer system, it’s potentially catastrophic.
Bill Caelli: The sheer technology competence of the attackers in the last two years has massively increased.
Jonathan Lea: Australia is the world’s fifth most targeted nation. Computer technician, Toby Hazlett, deals with at least one infected client a week.
Toby Hazlett: Some of the ones I’ve seen even take a photo of you through the laptop’s web camera and puts that into the image on the screen so they’ve got a picture of you, so know they know where you live.
Jonathan Lea: Most never contact Police paying the ransom through Bitcoins, an untraceable currency. Unfortunately for users, the odds are firmly in the favour of the hacker. Being infected can be as simple as clicking on a dodgy link, downloading, or even visiting a malicious website, all without any knowledge the damage has been done. The threat can be averted but only if you take precautions.
Toby Hazlett: Backup your software on a number of devices.
Jonathan Lea: If you think this is scary, consider the future.
Toby Hazlett: Your new cars that are now connected online, maybe they can get hacked.
Jonathan Lea: It gives a whole new meaning to traffic safety. Jonathan Lea, Ten Eyewitness News.