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Ransomware and Your Ham Shack

(Submitted by Clay W0LED)

I know it's not exactly ham radio but, with the integration of computers into the ham shack, ransomware can pose a new and significant risk to your computer-based logbooks, documents, and other important files.

If you're not aware of the term, ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.From Wikapedia: Ransomware is computer malware that installs covertly on a victim's computer, executes a cryptovirology attack that adversely affects it, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt it or not publish it Simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, and display a message requesting payment to unlock it More advanced malware encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. The ransomware may also encrypt the computer's Master File Table (MFT) or the entire hard drive. Thus, ransomware is a denial-of-access attack that prevents computer users from accessing files since it is intractable to decrypt the files without the decryption key. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan [horse program] that has a payload disguised as a legitimate file.

#1 Your first line of defense: up-to-date antivirus software.

#2 Next: It's the old cautions – If you don't recognize the sender of an email, don't open it. Delete it immediately!  Don't even peek.  If you're overcome with curiosity and you open the suspect email – Don't Click On Any Link in the email.

On most email readers and browsers, if you hover the cursor over a link, the corresponding URL (the underlying internet address) will be displayed somewhere on the application display.  Mine usually display at the lower left corner of the display.  Again, if you don't recognize the URL, or it is an altered spelling of something that looks familiar (Playpal instead of Paypal, IRS.gub instead of, instead of, etc.), Get Out Of ThereDon't Click On Anything, and Delete The Email or Suspicious Document

#3  And backup frequently to a USB hard disk drive or a cloud-based storage service.  When the backup is complete, disconnect the hard drive and store it somewhere secure or log off of the cloud-based storage service.  If your backup arrangement is completely disconnected from your computer, if the computer later becomes infected with ransomware, your important documents, photos, and so on, will be secure.  Even if you have to reformat the hard drive and re-install an operating system, your important files can be restored to the 'clean' computer and hard drive.

73 de WLED!


JULY 2015

Suggested Amateur contact procedure for exchanging QSL cards. To avoid sending out a QSL card and not getting anything in return, you may want to consider the following suggestion.

Do not send out a QSL card without making a contact!

When contacting another Amateur on the ham bands for the purpose of exchanging QSL cards, you should let the other operator know by asking if they QSL. If they do QSL, then you can proceed with your contact.

You should exchange important information about the contact on the frequency, such as a signal report, the date and the time UTC.

Using the above procedure, both Amateurs will have all the important details about their contact and can fill out their QSL cards correctly.

Sharing a tidbit with other BBC members is a good thing! If you have a tidbit you would like to contribute for publication and share with the membership, please submit it to one of the BBC officers.

Enjoy what Amateur radio has to offer!

Submitted for the website by Dan AD8I

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