Actual ransomware usually will have obvious indications (signs of infection)...it typically targets and encrypts data files so you cannot open them on your computer (and all connected drives at the time of infection), in most cases it appends an obvious extension to the end or beginning of encrypted filenames (although some variants do not), demands a ransom payment by dropping ransom notes in every directory or affected folder where data has been encrypted and sometimes changes Windows wallpaper. Somes types of ransomware will completely rename, encrypt or even scramble file names. Less obvious symptoms include adding or modifying registry entries and deletion of Shadow Volume Copies so that you cannot restore your files from before they had been encrypted but leaves the operating system working so the victim can pay the ransom. Further, when dealing with real ransomware, the cyber-criminals generally instruct their victims to contact them by email or website for decryption...they do not provide a phone number to call for assistance.
Tech Support Scamming through unsolicited phone calls, browser pop-ups and emails from "so-called Support Techs" advising "your computer is infected with malware", all your files are encrypted" and other fake messages has become an increasing common scam tactic over the past several years. The scams may involve web pages with screenshots of fake Microsoft (Windows) Support messages, fake reports of suspicious activity, fake warnings of malware found on your computer, fake ransomware and fake BSODs all of which include a tech support phone number to call in order to fix the problem. If you call the phone number (or they called you), scammers will talk their victims into allowing them remote control access of the computer so they can install a Remote Access Trojan in order to steal passwords and other sensitive personal information which could then be used to access bank accounts or steal a person's identity.
For more information about how these scams work and resources to protect yourself, please read Beware of Phony Emails & Tech Support Scams...there are suggestions near the bottom for dealing with scams and a list of security scanning tools to use in case the usual methods do not resolve the problem or you allowed remote access into your computer.
If you need individual assistance with a possible malware infection, you should start a new topic in the Am I infected? What do I do?
Edited by duffsparky, 24 October 2017 - 07:11 AM.