Recent TV news articles, have prompted me to help you put out the fire – and stop criminals holding you to ransom – for large sums of money.
In September last year, a new criminal threat was discovered, in the form of the Cryptolocker ‘ransom-ware’ virus. This is a Trojan virus which attacks an infected machine, by encrypting almost everything it can find, then displaying a message saying you have to pay money to the criminals – in order to decrypt your data.
I won’t go into the gory details – as there is much available on the internet – but you get the idea.
Once the virus has completed it’s mission – you either pay up – or say goodbye to your data
Even worse, Gameover Zeus has arrived in the shape of a botnet, that attempts to steal all your passwords, report these to the criminals – and they then help themselves to your cash.
Cut to the chase
There are many solutions to these issues, but these are really nasty viruses. Why? Because once encrypted, you are not going to get your data back without paying – so Cryptolocker has you in a death grip. Zeus can get your passwords without you even knowing anything has happened – until you start to feel poor….
Learn Digital Kung Fu
Lots of articles concentrate on blocking and removal – using antivirus software and removal tools – but these are missing the point completely: antivirus software is reactive – new versions of Cryptolocker / Zeus will be created which antivirus software won’t know about – and there is no way of decrypting Cryptolocker without paying.
To really defend against these two, you need:
- A good data backup solution that includes an offline component
- Really good awareness of how this software attacks you
1. Backup, Backup and then Backup some more
If the worst happens and you get Cryptolocker or a variant, the only way to recover is to have a backup of your files. Hugely preferable, is to have what’s called an offline backup.
Cryptolocker can encrypt files on any connected device
So, if your backup drive is connected to your computer when Cryptolocker runs, then it’s cheerio to your backups too. Not even cloud storage is safe – unless it supports file ‘versions’ – allowing you to step back in time, to different versions of the same file.
See how nasty this is? Many Thanks all you crims!
2. Become Security Minded
These two current threats, will evolve over time and their behaviour will change. This means you need to become ‘security minded’ and always follow the best computing procedures.
I have a list of best security practices here.
Some links you may find helpful, to antivirus, anti malware and security news and alerts.
- Microsoft Tools: Safety Scanner, Security Essentials, Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit
- Antivirus: Avast, Avira, Malwarebytes, Kaspersky, AVG
- CERT UK Alerts
- National Crime Agency
In the ever dangerous world in which we live, losing all your data might not be the end of the world. But I hope this blog post helps protect you and extinguish the fire of the criminal underworld.