Ransomware is the latest, and quite possibly the most devious type of malware developed in recent memory. The name comes from the virus’s ability to infect a computer system and either encrypt or lock its files. The files will then stay locked and reman inaccessible for the owner until a ransom has been paid either in a cash voucher or in Bitcoins. CryptoLocker is one such version of the malware that uses infected emails and botnets to infiltrate Microsoft Windows and encrypt files stored on the computer’s local or mounted network. Using public-key cryptography, the ransomer holds the private key to unlock the files which it will provide the victim once the ransom has been forked over. There is no guarantee, however, that once the hacker has been paid, the key will be provided, and the ransom can be as high as £237.
Thankfully, Windows users can breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing that security experts have devised a way for victims of CryptoLocker to access a free key to restore their files. This malware is thought to have affected half a million Microsoft users, but security agents working in a number of law enforcement agencies across the world, were able to obtain a copy of the hackers’ database of victims and get a glimpse into how their operation functions. This group is also responsible for generating a strain of malware called Gameover Zeus. This trojan horse malware has been used to distribute CryptoLocker to machines and infect Microsoft systems.
The CryptoLocker virus first appeared late in 2013 and is thought to have involved 500,000 thousand victims who were asked to pay the ransom, usually in Bitcoins, in 72 hours or risk the permanent loss of their files. While it is believed that less than 2% of the victims actually paid the ransom the gang, which is thought to have originated in Russia, may have netted as much as $3 million from the scheme.
The Decrypt CryptoBlocker website is one way for victims to unlock their files, but of course the major lesson to be learned here is not a new one: Always back up your files. These types of malware will surely adapt to any new efforts to combat them. At AGT Computer Services, we have already encountered one such infected Microsoft Windows system where our decryption efforts did not work. Performing a routine Cloud back up will help mitigate damages in the event of a ransomware infection like CryptoLocker, or any virus for that matter. Installing Cloud anti-virus protection will also help prevent such an infection from happening in the first place.
AGT Computer Services provides IT support to both individuals and businesses in Blackpool, Lytham, and Preston. We can help combat this malware and enable you to restore all files in the event of an attack. We can provide your systems with patches to keep you protected with the latest updates. Don’t pay the ransom, and don’t fall victim to the CryptoLockers or rely on CrytpoBlockers to come to the rescue if you do.