A nicely written -- enjoyable to read -- piece in the NY Times tells the story of how the writer's no-tech Mom got hit with CyberLocker ransomware. Happily she got her files back, but only after paying $525 and begging to get the key.

This ransomware stuff has been a scourge for years. CyberLocker 2.0 is the latest form of it, and so far, antimalware has not had a great success rate against it. Once it is in your computer and has run, your files are locked, and that is that.

The safest way to protect your files from this stuff is in two steps:

1. Back up your files constantly to a remote location; easiest is to a cloud based backup, like Carbonite.

2. Do not open email attachments. Period. Especially any forwarded cute or funny or sad or whatever stuff. The only exceptions to this rule are when the attachment is something that you have requested or are expecting, and you are positive that it is from the correct email source.

And even then, download it to a temporary directory first to make sure that your up-to-date anti malware program has a chance to scan it before you open it.