If there is one thing we can count on, its that Computer viruses will always be around. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be slowing either. The latest piece of malware is infecting machines at an alarming rate, and then extorting $300 in order to decrypt the users files.
Cryptolocker (a Trojan variant more commonly known as RansomWare), is spreading like wildfire via emails and botnets. Once it has infected the victim’s machine, it encrypts the user’s personal files and pops up a message that is illustrates the following points in a paragraph format.
- The user’s personal files are encrypted!
- The single copy of the private key, which will allow you to decrypt the files is located on a secret server on the internet.
- After the time specified in the window, the server will destroy the key (rendering the users data useless).
- The cost to obtain the key is $300 or €300 (or a similar amount in another currency), and warns that any attempt to remove or damage the software will lead to the immediate destruction of the private key by the server.
The scheme (of encrypting data, and then selling it back to the users) has been used before, but the malware developers left holes in their programming, thereby allowing Antivirus companies to render the scheme useless.
However, this time the malware developers did it right, and closed all the loopholes.
What should you do?
Well, at this point there isn’t a whole lot you can do if you are infected, aside from relying on your backups.
How do you protect yourself if you aren’t a victim yet?
- Be sure you know who is sending you email, and even then.. if you aren’t sure of the attachment, call them up and find out if they did in fact send you an attachment.
- Botnets are little bit trickier. Botnets typically use existing low risk malware infections to infect your system. The low risk malware infects your system, but contains a hidden piece of code essentially telling the malware to upgrade itself. This upgrade can be scheduled to take place immediately upon infection, or 2 months down the road. It’s all up to the malware developer.
The best advise I can give you is run an Anti-Malware program such as MalwareBytes. MalwareBytes is not designed to replace your AntiVirus, but work in conjunction with it. Another program that is good is CCleaner.
SUMMARY: If you are vigilant with your email, and keep on top of your computer’s overall health, you should have no problems.