The CryptoLocker Virus – What is it? How does it Spread? What can I do about it?

Posted on | April 9, 2014 | Comments Off on The CryptoLocker Virus – What is it? How does it Spread? What can I do about it?

What is CryptoLocker?
CryptoLocker is a ransomware virus; released in September 2013, the virus encrypts files such as Microsoft Office documents and pictures amongst many others, not only on your PC but any attached backup/USB drives.  When it’s finished encrypting your files, it displays a CryptoLocker payment program giving you a limited time period to pay the ransom or it will delete your encryption key leaving your files permanently encrypted.

What happens if you are infected?
It is impossible to decrypt files without a secret key, if you have no clean backup it leaves you with no choice but to either pay the ransom or lose your files forever.  The National Crime Agency does not endorse the payment of a ransom, some users have reported that paying the ransom starts the decryption process leading to the recovery of files others have reported problems after payment.

How does it spread?
The virus is typically spread through emails pretending to come from companies such as Fedex, UPS, DHS, etc.  These emails contain an attachment that when opened infects the computer; the attachments are often disguised as PDF or ZIP files.

How do I stop myself getting infected?
Do not open suspicious emails, attachments or links.
Always keep run an up to date Anti-Virus program running and make sure USB sticks/drives are scanned when you attach them.
Make sure your operating system and applications are up to date and fully patched.
Regularly back up your data and don’t leave backup drives plugged in. Cloud backup in combination with local backups are a good idea.

How do I remove it if I get infected?
I would advise taking the PC and any other devices that might have been infected to a professional who will be able to make sure they are completely clean of the virus.

If you have any questions about the above or would like some advice on security and backups please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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