There is a new virus out there that is making its rounds and it is one the most severe viruses we’ve seen. Within the last couple of weeks news has been spreading about a virus known as Cryptolocker. Cryptolocker is a virus that is commonly referred to as ransomware. Ransomware is when a piece of malicious software takes over your computer and prevents you from doing anything except booting up. It gives you an ultimatum to pay the people behind it or lose all your data. This type of virus/malware is becoming increasingly popular among criminals and illegal organizations. The most common that people may have seen is the “FBI Virus.”
What we have seen in the past from ransomware is idle threats that we ultimately can remove. What makes the Cryptolocker virus more severe and even makes us worry? It follows through on the threat. This particular virus comes in either through clicked ads or fraudulent emails with zip files attached to it. Once it is launched it tries to report back to a server with a unique computer ID. It then pops up saying that all your files are being/have been encrypted and you have 100 hours to pay. Failure to pay within the time frame renders any and all files that were encrypted useless as it deletes out the unique computer ID that it would use to decrypt the files. If you do pay the ransom, it appears that the virus does actually decrypt the files, however, there is no guarantee that it will.
So what should you do get the Cryptolocker virus? The first thing you should do is immediately unplug your computer. This virus searches for any personal files and if it detects it on shared drives it will encrypt those as well. The second thing you should do is contact your IT provider. At this point you are likely working on a deadline and the question before you is do you pay the ransom or do you not pay the ransom? Failure to pay can be a complete data-loss for some people. We recently had an end-user experience this because a fraudulent email was opened. Currently no one publicly has been able to decrypt the files or work out how to decrypt the files. If you get the Cryptolocker virus, you don’t pay, and you don’t have a good backup to restore to, you will lose your files.
What should you do to prevent from getting this horrible piece of software on your computer? Be smart about what you do:
- Don’t open files or links you are not familiar with or came from sources you were not sure of. If you receive something that you are not sure of, let us know. We can work with you to open it in a secure environment and let you know whether it was fake or not.
- Make sure you have a good anti-virus program. If you’re not sure, call us. We’ll gladly make sure you have something that can protect you against most known threats. Remember though, simply having an anti-virus is not a fool-proof solution and they don’t work 100% of the time but they are a reliable source of prevention.
- Any company files or files you cannot live/work without, have a current backup copy of them. If you’re not sure how to backup or want something full-fledge, let us know. We can work with you to make sure that your backups work and can respond to emergency situations.
- If your computer starts acting weird or icons/software shows up that you have never seen, let us know. This can be the first signs that your computer should be cleaned.