Cryptolocker ransomware is unfortunately becoming more common and we are beginning to encounter it much more often. In fact, a US hospital has recently had to a pay a ransom of $17,000 to access its data again after it was infected with ransomware.
What is Cryptolocker Ransomware?
Ransomware is essentially online extortion that occurs when your computer is infected with a virus that encrypts your data. Once the data is encrypted, you are sent a ‘note’ stating that you must pay the ‘ransom’ fee to decrypt your data.
Many ransomware emails are just a con trying to catch you off guard which do not actually encrypt your files. However the more refined versions including Cryptolocker do encrypt your data and can do this in such a way that will be impossible to break without paying the fee.
How does your computer get infect by ransomware?
An email is the usual method of delivery for ransomware viruses. This email is usually targeted at the business departments that will open them i.e. an email sent to accounts with ‘invoice’ or similar in the subject.
Most of the time, it will look suspicious so we know not to open it however the offenders are getting more creative to encourage us to click. As mentioned, once your computer is infected you will see a screen that will have something similar to: “to decrypt your files, you must pay a ransom few of $x. If this is not received by (a certain date), this fee will double.” It can even have a countdown to when payment is due.
No Backup = no choice
Unfortunately, if you are a victim of ransomware and you do not have a back-up of your data, then you may have no choice but to pay the ransom fee.
Will your data be restored?
The offenders will usually restore your data back to its original format once you have paid the ransom, as they realise that people would stop paying if they found out it did not do anything. However it is important to remember that there is no guarantee that the offender will release your data and unfortunately you cannot fight this.
It could happen again
If you are a victim of Cryptolocker ransomware and pay the fee to access your data, this doesn’t mean that your system is safe from further attacks. It is common that the malicious software will also create gaps in your security, allowing future attacks to gain access again.
The only way to be certain that your system is safe is to remove your system completely and re-install, however you will need a reliable back up to do this.
How to avoid ransomware
The good news is that you can avoid ransomware with the top tips below:
– Make sure your operation system and software is up to date.
– Ensure your antivirus software is up to date and the settings are adjusted to inspect incoming emails.
– Consider using another malware scanner or security software to protect your system from threats before they can even enter your network.
– Make sure your staff are aware of this and encourage them to advise you when any suspicious emails are received. The most common example to look out for is an email was an ‘invoice’ attached.
– If possible, block exe and zip files from entering your network.
– If you are attacked by Cryptolocker Ransomware, immediately unplug the computer from the network and figure out what has been infected.
A Back-up is Vital
A reliable, secure back-up of your system is the best way to avoid the dangers of a ransomware attack. Remember that an external hard drive or simply saving recent files to Dropbox will not save all of your data.
A Cloud Back-Up will reset your system back to how it was prior to the attack, removing the risk of secondary ‘backdoor’ attacks and it can also restore any encrypted data. Don’t learn the hard, and expensive, way how important a back-up is.
Cloud back-ups are simple, affordable and vital in today’s world of online crime. Protect your data from Cryptolocker Ransomware before it is too late.