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Ransomware Targets Gamers

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By now you should already know what ransomware is. A new version of it is targeting computer gamers.

In case you do need a recap, ransomware can be downloaded from an infected website, sent in email as a zip file or it can slip in through vulnerabilities in applications like Flash Player or Internet Explorer.  It encrypts the files on your computer and won't let you access them unless you pay up, usually to the tune of a few hundred bucks.

One family of ransomware is targeting gamers.  Called TeslaCrypt, it ransoms a number of popular computer games, including Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, Diablo, Dragon Age: Origins, League of Legends, Minecraft, Skyrim, Starcraft 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, World of Warcraft and more.

Of course, it's a pain to have to re-purchase a game and lose all your saved data, but many people would rather start a game over than spend $500 (depending on how leveled up your World of Warcraft Death Knight is), so it locks up the rest of your computer's data too.

When TeslaCrypt first came on the scene, it was an annoyance, but the encryption wasn't terribly strong and it was actually possible to interrupt the encryption process and get control of the files back, if you knew a bit about what you were doing.

Unfortunately, a newer, stronger version of TeslaCrypt has appeared and it's not so easy to stop the hackers from holding your files for ransom.

The best defense is to keep backups current and make sure your antivirus software stays up to date.