Cryptolocker – Be alert, don’t be held to ransom!

Cryptolocker is a big problem; you may have read about recent attacks in the media. One of our valued clients was recently hit – and without our fast response, it could have been disastrous.

What is it:
Cryptolocker is a Ransomware Trojan virus, targeting Microsoft Windows users.

How it attacks:
There are various ways, the most common one being a malicious attachment in an email. However, it can also enter your computer through the ‘back door’, if you are already affected by other viruses. In other words, your computer may already have existing malware you’re unaware of, which can be an open door for Cryptolocker.

What it does and how it may affect you:
This is the scary bit: When the computer is infected, it then begins encrypting your files, all your files! This means that it turns them all into an unreadable code and you will no longer have access to them. Once it’s finish encrypting all your files, it will then send you a message requesting payment in exchange for decrypting them. If it does not get paid, it will then likely destroy them all. Hence why this type of virus is called ‘Ransomware’ – it holds all your data to ransom!

These are operated by global criminal organisations, and there is no evidence to suggest they’ll decrypt your data even if payment is made.

10 Steps to protect yourself against this virus:

• Ensure your operating system and security software are regularly updated

• Ensure ALL staff are educated in good computing practices and know how to spot threats.

• Consider investing in substantial anti-virus tools, including specialist Cryptolocker prevention kits.

• Don’t open attachments from unknown sources or from emails that appear to be from a legitimate source but are suspicious.

• Regularly back up important data and keep it within unconnected storage.

• Consider moving more data to cloud services such as DHS Pegasus (contact us for more information).

• Businesses should check incident response and resilience protocols to monitor for infection.

• Use software to identify if a computer is infected. If so, disconnect it from networks immediately and contact us

• If you believe you have been compromised, change online account passwords and network passwords after removing the system from the network.

• Block .exe files over email, including within ZIP files. This can usually be done using an anti-spam system. (Source: The Guardian)

If your computer does not run a Microsoft Windows Operating System, you will not be affected. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

(Image: © Kmitu | Dreamstime Stock Photos)