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Ransomware is a type of virus and malware that basically takes your computer hostage and demands that you pay a ransom to get your computer back to normal. As an IT Professional, I encourage you to never pay a ransom if you get infected by one of these. Instead, make sure you do routine backups of your data on either an external hard drive or use cloud storage. There’s a new version of the Power Worm ransomware going around, and the coder made a mistake (or it was deliberate). The virus encrypts your data, making it inaccessible unless you have a the unique key to decrypt the files. The latest version of the Power Worm ransomware forgets the encryption key, making it nearly impossible to access your data, even if you pay the ransom.

Originally the Power Worm ransomware was identified in March 2014 and it targeted Microsoft Excel and Word files. The recent versions target more files. In the screenshot below, courtesy of Bleeping Computer, you can see the message you would get if you become infected. For all users, the user ID is always “qDgx5Bs8H”.

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