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New dangerous & destructive virus on the loose – CryptoLocker

There is a dangerous new virus on the loose, and it’s spreading like wildfire.

CryptoLocker is classified as a high-risk threat since it is easily contracted, and resolution is difficult. While we have a multi-layered security approach set up for our business clients that will reduce the likelihood of a passive infection, CryptoLocker relies on user action to infect a computer.

If you see this pop-up on your screen, DO NOT restart your computer and call us immediately:

Prevention is the key

CryptoLocker currently spreads via three known methods:

  • Fake email that looks like it comes from a customer support representative  from UPS, Fedex, DHS, Amazon, BBB, etc. The emails contain an attachment or possibly a link to a hacked website.
  • Hacked websites that attempt to exploit vulnerabilities on your computer to install the infection.
  • Through Trojans that pretend to be programs allowing you to view online videos (typically, but not always, pornographic websites). Sometimes it will look like a simple PDF attachment or even a picture

What CryptoLocker Does

Once your computer is infected, the virus scans your computer and ANY NETWORK SHARED DRIVES IT FINDS for common business type files (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.) and encrypts them. This renders them impossible to open unless you “purchase” a decryption key from the hijackers.

The “fee” can be thousands of dollars.

This specific form of malware/ransomware is much worse than others because even after it is removed from the computer the files that were encrypted cannot be unlocked. There have been some reports that paying the “fee” (ransom) has resulted in the files being decrypted, however, there is no guarantee. Also paying the “fee” (ransom), depending how that is done, could lead to identity theft.

Preventing CryptoLocker virus infection

This nasty virus is spread by opening email attachments or through other “social engineering” means. Spam/Virus filtering such as ours and others are aware of the threat and actively block emails that contain elements of this and other malware. If you believe you have received an email that contains malware, do not click on any attachments or links.

The best thing you can do right now to avoid getting a CryptoLocker virus infection is to make sure you, as well as your staff, are aware of the threat and extremely careful with opening email attachments. We recommend notifying your employees immediately of this new virus and making sure everyone is following some basic preventive measures:

  • Do not click on attachments in emails from someone you don’t know or companies from which you haven’t expressed interest in receiving information.
  • Do not click on links, advertisements or pictures that pop up on your screen when visiting other websites.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited emails.
  • Do not engage in social media games or click on links that appear on social media platforms.
  • Do not disable security settings such as antivirus, firewall, filtering, and site monitoring programs.
  • DO have a proper backup solution already set up. This is critical to recovery should you fall prey to this. Some simple or improperly-set up backup solutions may be vulnerable to the virus as well.