What is Cryptolocker and How to Prevent it?

So you’re working on your computer and you are greeted with a pop up like the image below, you have been infected with Cryptolocker. Cryptolocker is a malicious software that criminals use to encrypt your files for ransom, which cannot be opened until the ransom is paid. Failure to pay results in all your files being deleted forever!

cryptolocker

 

Obviously, those of us who keep important files on our computers should do whatever possible to protect themselves from Cryptolocker. This damaging ransomware is spreading more rapidly than any of its malware competitors. And because it potentialy can harm your network files, it can cause major disruption of productivity, if you don’t have a plan in place.

These are some simple steps you can take to avoid being harmed by CryptoLocker: 

  • Be careful when opening emails. If you receive an email from a sender you do not recognize, it might be spam. This is where you use your own judgement by reading the email contents, but DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT open any attachment until you have verified that the email is from a trusted source. Most times CryptoLocker spreads through booby trapped emails. It tricks the reader into thinking that it’s legitimate. If you do not recognize the sender of the email, do not open it or the attachment. 
  • Be cautious of links that you click while browsing the internet. If a site has pop-ups, it should be avoided. Clicking a pop up it may inadvertently lead to unwanted programs to be installed without your permission. If you start receiving popups, close your web browser immediately, then close the remaining popups. Additionally, avoid clicking any ad which advertises any form of software which claims to speed up  your PC or fix errors, malware or viruses.
  • Common emails that have been known traps for Cryptolocker:
    • Emails with links to file sharing services (Drop Box, Sky Drive, onedrive, Google Drive etc)
    • Emails which asks for payment of invoices from unknown sources
    • Emails with voicemails or faxes attached from unknown sources. If you do click the fax or voicemail and it doesn’t open, shut down your system immediately.

What do you do If your computer is infected with Cryptolocker? The first thing you should do is unplug the network and power cable from the back of your computer. This will prevent the files on your network from becoming encrypted. The quicker you disconnect your computer, the less damage it can cause. The next step to take is to contact your IT provider and they will take care of it.

 Dwight Beckett

dwightb at shapeint dot com

© 2015, Shape Integrations Inc.

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