FBI warns billions of Gmail and Outlook users over ‘infection message’ that can break computers and cost you money | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

THE FBI has warned smartphone owners about malware that can infect their computers and steal their data.

There are several types of malware out there that can hack into your devices.

The FBI has warned smartphone owners about malware that can infect their computersCredit: Getty

One of the most dangerous is ransomware, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has warned in a new fact sheet.


Ransomware is a type of malicious software that silently infiltrates your device.

It then prevents you from accessing your computer files, systems, or networks and demands you pay a ransom for their return. 

“A malicious cyber-criminal holds the data hostage until the ransom is paid,” the IC3 said.

“If the ransom is not paid, the victim’s data remains unavailable,” the agency added.

Ransomware attacks can cause costly disruptions to operations and result in the loss of critical information.

Most often, ransomware is unknowingly downloaded via an email attachment, online advertisement, or malicious links.

Sometimes, it can even be discreetly downloaded by visiting a website that’s embedded with malware.

“Once the code is loaded on a computer, it will lock access to the computer itself or data and files stored there,” the FBI explained on its website.

“More menacing versions can encrypt files and folders on local drives, attached drives, and even networked computers.”


To help potential victims stay safe, the IC3 shared a number of tips that can help mitigate your risk of ransomware.

“Backup your data, system images, and configurations, test your backups, and keep the backups offline,” the agency said.

It’s also very important to utilize multi-factor authentication on all of your devices.

Multi-factor authentication helps protect your accounts by requiring an extra level of verification before logging in – such as a text confirmation.

Another step you can take is to make sure that you update and patch systems as soon as updates and patches come out.

“Make sure your security solutions are up to date,” the IC3 also noted.

And as always, review and exercise your incident response plan.


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National Cyber Security