We have noticed an increase in the number of computer attacks through so-called “ransomware”. The best-known ransomware software is CryptoLocker which encrypts your personal data and then demands a payment before releasing your data.

Thousands of users have been hit by this software after having opened an attachment that was sent by email.

Wat is a CryptoLocker ? 

CryptoLocker is a common virus that locks the content of your computer through encryption.
The malware encrypts pictures, videos and documents. The software even gives the victim a detailed list of all file types that have been encrypted.

The software then informs you that you need to pay a ransom (often up to 300 dollars but sometimes more) before your files can be restored. The private key is supposedly located on a secret server.
The software displays a 3-day countdown clock which allows the victim to see how much time he has left to pay for the private key.

If the ransom is not paid before the end of the deadline, the private key is deleted and the encrypted files can never be recovered.

Obviously there is no guarantee that you will have access to your files if you pay the ransom. Some victims who paid the ransom claim that they never received the private key. Others say some files were corrupted and unusable.

Some CryptoLocker versions do not only infect local files, but also hit external media: USB sticksexternal hard drives, shared files and even some cloud storage services.

How can you protect yourself ?

Use extreme caution when you open emails, click on links and attachments or pop-ups on the Internet :

Check the sender’s address (be careful, this is not always a guarantee !)
Do not respond to requests for :
Unpaid invoices from your mobile operator
Bank details from your financial institution
Information from various social organizations
Do not open files with the following extensions : « .docm », «.xlsm », « .cab », « .zip », « .exe », not even if you know the sender.

Check your security strategies :

  • Back-up your data
  • Protect your files
  • Get a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP – BCM)
  • Etc.

Contact Megabyte for more information