One of latest and most notorious criminal enterprises on the Internet is linked to a virus named CryptoLocker and is a new breed of threats known as Ransomware.
By the time you see this ominous message pop up on your computer screen you will have lost access to your files! In order to re-gain access you will need an encryption key which the hijackers will sell you for a couple of bitcoins (currently about $300-600 but we’ll get back to bitcoins a little later in the next blog post).
Yeah, this really sucks. It’s about the same smack in the face as having your computer stolen or damaged or having a hard drive fail. You have lost the ability to access your valuable data. Your only options are to pay the ransom or restore your computer from your backup drive.
You DO have a backup somewhere with a complete copy of your computer’s data, don’t you? Portable hard drive, thumb drive, Dropbox? If not-YIKES!
If you do, you can restore your most important files by reinstalling your Operating System (Windows or MacOS) and then copying the files back onto the hard drive from your backup device or Dropbox or other online storage service.
What can you do to try and avoid CryptoLocker and other nasty viruses?
- Update your Java.
- DO NOT download .Zip attachments-Ever!
- NEVER RUN ANY .exe File FROM AN EMAIL.
- Delete anything that you aren’t expecting unless you are familiar with the sender.These hackers are smart and they know how to get you to open their email. Recent emails containing CrytoLocker appeared to be from LinkedIn and FedEx. Instant hostage situation!
- Keep your Antivirus software updated.
- BACK UP YOUR FILES Regularly in two places-portable device and an online service like Dropbox (Free)