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CryptoLocker Virus – Your data held to ransom

Online criminals have created a new virus called CryptoLocker, which is a form of ransomware, that forces victims to pay up good money if they want to keep their own files.

What is Ransomware?

If you’ve never heard of ransomware before, it is when a virus demands you pay money to have it removed from your computer. These often come in the form of a screen locker – maybe an explicit picture pops up covering your entire screen and it won’t go away until you pay money.

There is a new ransomware that is the worst of the bunch. It finds your most important data, encrypts it and will only give you the key to unlock it if you pay a specified ransom amount within 3 days. Otherwise, the key and your data is lost forever.

However, even if you do decide to pay up, these cyber criminals may take their time about sending you the key or sometimes just don’t send it at all.

How to Avoid Losing Your Data

Anti-virus Software

Make sure you have decent anti-virus software that is up to date. CryptoLocker already has several strains and therefore not all anti-virus software is able to stop CryptoLocker before it encrypts your files. Once infected, removing CryptoLocker will not fix your problem and you’ll have to reinstall the virus if you decide you have no choice but to pay up. Follow the next three steps so you aren’t forced to make this decision!

Be Careful Online

CryptoLocker spreads through phishing campaigns via multiple outlets. It has been spread through legitimate businesses and through phony FedEx or UPS tracking notifications. Some people receive it through botnet infections so it is pretty easy to come by.

They mostly target users from the UK and US and to a lesser extent; India, Canada, Australia and France. Knowing how you get the virus can help you be more careful about clicking on links and email attachments willy nilly but the best way to avoid problems even if you are unlucky enough to contract this virus is to make sure to do the following:

Backup your files

You’ve heard it a million times before but that is only because it really is essential; not just to prevent this particular virus but any virus, hardware failure, theft or many other things that can happen to your PC. Prevention is always better than cure.

If you regularly backup and you do get CryptoLocker Virus on your computer then you can simply say bugger you guys and keep your cash without too much damage being done but remember…

Keep backup separate

Always backup your data to a separate device because anything plugged in can be affected. Use an online backup system or external hard drive but don’t leave it plugged in all the time or it will only get infected too, same goes for USB’s.

CryptoLocker Virus is seriously bad news and hopefully it never happens to you but if you follow these steps and make sure to backup regularly you won’t be forced to give in to blackmailers and you’ll be protected from other unforeseeable events too. Whether it’s your work, your personal family photos or just your hobbies, your files are important to you so treat them as such.

What if I’m already a victim?

If you’ve already fallen victim to this terrible virus, we would recommend not paying the ransom, but retrieve your files from backup. Should you not have a backup and have lost all of your files, then your only remaining option may be to succumb to these cyber criminals and pay up. This however is also fraught with danger as you would need to provide payment details and you may be subject to other malicious infections.

How can Wrighton Computer Services Help?

If you don’t want to get caught out paying ransom fees and don’t already have a backup system in place Wrighton Computers can offer you solutions tailored to your needs. Call us today – 1300 309 200

About Edward Wright

Intelligent, honest and practical, Edward Wright is the Owner and Director of Wrighton Computer Services Pty Ltd. By focusing on implementing and managing the right I.T. infrastructure, resources and solutions to small to medium businesses, we help business owners do what they do best – Run their business!

CryptoLocker Virus – Your data held to ransom

by Edward Wright time to read: 3 min
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