Monday 14 June 2021

Bitcoin Ransom to Unlock ‘Hostage’ Computer Files?

encrypted filesQCOSTARICA TECH – Could this happen to you in Costa Rica? A Canadian couple was forced to pay a ransom of more than $800 in Bitcoins to have their computer files unlocked and returned to them.

Billy and Theresa Niedermayer, of Winnipeg, fell victim to a type of malware called “ransomware,” which holds a computer system and its files hostage until a ransom is paid.

Prior to being hit with the scam, the two had taken many precautions to protect themselves online. They make it a practice to never open random emails and regularly back up their files on an external hard drive that plugs into their computer.

- Advertisement -

But they recently noticed that their system was slowing down, and they couldn’t understand why until a pop up window appeared one day.

The message in the window said that more than 260,000 of their files had been encrypted, locked and were being held hostage. The couple were instructed to pay a fee in Bitcoin currency to have the files unlocked, and access restored.

Theresa Niedermayer said that the message didn’t seem real.

“It feels like something out of a movie. All of a sudden the time clock appears on the computer, it starts ticking backwards, and you’re on a timeline before your fine doubles,” she told CTV Winnipeg.

- Advertisement -

Billy Niedermayer said the ransomware went beyond their hard drive, infecting his accounts on Google drive, Dropbox and his cloud account.

According to Public Safety Canada, scammers who use ransomware extort millions of dollars a year from victims. They have been known to target both PCs and Macs, and have even started attacking smartphones.

“It’s upsetting, and you wonder what people want to do with your files, if they’re trying to get banking information (or) if there’s identity theft,” Theresa Niedermayer said.

The federal agency advises against paying the ransom, but the Niedermayers said they had no choice. They paid more than $800 in online Bitcoin currency to have their files unencrypted and returned to them.

Now, they have a warning for others.

“Back up your files, unplug the (external) hard drive from your computer,” Billy Niedermayer said. “Get it off of there; do not keep it plugged in.”

- Advertisement -

Once their files are returned, the Niedermayers plan to have their hard drive professionally wiped, and will change their IP address.


- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Related Articles

Diseases, weather and low prices hit the orange sector in Costa Rica

HQ - The appearance of pests and diseases, in particular the...

Central America is back in the news for the wrong reasons, Costa Rica is once again the exception

QCOSTARICA - Osta Rica has been the epicenter of regional diplomacy...


On Monday the vehicle restriction will change, again

QCOSTARICA - In times of pandemic, things change constantly, especially when it is necessary to tighten the belt to reduce the contagion of covid-19. The...

Tilaran, where the wind blows

QCOSTARICA - For years, Tilarán has seen the transit of tourists heading towards Lake Arenal, the homonymous volcano and La Fortuna or towards Monteverde. At...

Estadio Nacional

QCOSTARICA - The multipurpose national stadium, the first modern sport and event arena to be built in Central America, located La Sabana. The stadium was...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction: June 11, “EVENS”

Today, Friday, June 11, only EVENS can circulate. The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, save for those under the...

COVID vaccines in the workplace: Can I ask who got their shots?

(DW) Jon works for the local government in the US state of Virginia. The 40-year-old received both his COVID shots in April. Most of...

eHow to Become Successful in Online Casino Betting 

To become a successful gambler in the online industry, there is a lot to cover. It can be known to be a vastly different...

The US improves travel alerts for Central America; Not Costa Rica and Nicaragua

QCOSTARICA - The United States has eased travel advisories for most Central American countries, with the exception of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, according to...

Will President Alvarado be vaccinated against Covid-19 soon?

QCOSTARICA - Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado is just another citizen when it comes to covid-19 vaccination, given his young age and good health,...

Are you fully vaccinated? You can now enter Spain

Q TRAVEL - Travelers from the European Union or third countries, including Costa Rica, who have fully been vaccinated, will now be able to...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.