Many of you have been asking us about the dangers of CryptoLocker to your personal and business computers. Hackers are increasing in numbers and are constantly finding new ways to break through anti-virus and firewall technologies.
We want you to understand these threats and provide tips on what you can do to decrease the chances of your PC getting infected. We partner with you to keep your business and personal computers secure.
What is CryptoLocker?
CryptoLocker is a malware threat that can be especially damaging to your PC. Once it infects your computer, it encrypts files on desktops and network shares and holds them for ransom. This includes anything on your hard drive or any shared network drives.
When you try to open an encrypted file, the CryptoLocker virus will display warning screens indicating that you need to pay a fee to decrypt them or your data will be destroyed. For this reason, CryptoLocker is often referred to as “ransomware.” Note: Only computers running Windows are vulnerable to Cryptolocker.
How does CryptoLocker Infect Computers?
CryptoLocker can enter a protected network in a few different ways, here are three of the most common ways.
- Email – The most common method is through emails with attachments that appear legit such as *.doc or *.pdf. when opened, the attachment starts a downloader, which infects your computer.
- File Sharing Sites – Similar to email, files are shared that look authentic but when downloaded or opened begin to infect your data.
- Downloads – This can be done through websites that prompt you download a plug-in or video player.
What Preventative Measures can be used?
So, what can you do on a day-to-day basis to lessen the risk of CryptoLocker and other malware from infecting your files? Here are five tips to follow.
- Practice safe internet usage and avoid phishing scams. Do not open any attachment from unknown email addresses, even if they claim to be from someone that you know or a company that you are familiar with. Always check with that party if the email seems suspicious. Phishing emails are the most common delivery method for ransomware.
- Do not download any files from unsecured or unfamiliar websites.
- Restrict access to files as allows, the more files a user account has access to, the more damage can be inflicted.
- Update your antivirus software as needed – these solutions can help detect threats and prevent them from encrypting your files.
- Keep backups of all documents – it’s easier to recover your files from a backup if a ransomware attack would occur.
What are the Benefits of Backups?
Data is a valuable yet vulnerable asset for companies of all sizes. To protect your data, you need to back it up regularly. That way, your company will be able to recover from a cyberattack, major equipment failure, or catastrophic mistake made by one of your staff members.
We make sure that backups aren’t available for the virus to access. Either online or a segregated section of your network. Isolating your backups from easy access for the virus is critical to ensure you backups remain available for restore if a virus attacks.
Although you might know you should be backing up your data, you might not know how to do so. A good place to start is to learn about the ways you can back it up.
What to do if Infected?
Cryptolocker can cause substantial damage to business and personal computers. If you believe your computer may be infected, run a full system scan using your antivirus program. It may be possible to unlock your files. Bennett Office Technologies partners with clients to ensure the highest level of security.
For assistance on determining your personal or business computer needs contact our computer repair team at Bennett Office Technologies. Business owners are welcome to complete our Technology Assessment form and we’ll contact you to do a free assessment.