CryptoLocker Virus or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being Vigilant

CryptoLocker: Be Vigilant!
The CryptoLocker strain of computer infection could literally spell the end of your business!

I’m serious. It’s happened. And it seems to be running rampant in the wild yet again.

CryptoLocker is the computer version of Rabies. There’s a vaccine and with precaution you should never be infected. But if your computer system is exposed, it’s pernicious, there’s simply no going back.

It’s not my intention to sound alarmist but, without steadfast vigilance, your computer files might very well become permanently unreadable.

CryptoLocker Virus or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being Vigilant

  1. Anatomy.

    The CryptoLocker strain of viruses works as follows.

    Within minutes of infection, files on your computer and network are encrypted. This is akin to someone using a WWII Enigma code machine to scramble your documents, spreadsheets, database files, and images and then destroy the originals. Without knowing the settings of the Enigma machine, how will you ever decipher your content? You can’t.

    CryptoLocker viruses are known as Ransomware because they tease of possible recovery. This is only possible by paying the extortionist creators to surrender their Enigma settings. Don’t bother, you’re actually admitting defeat to them – and they might just look for other ways into your business having learned who you are. You’ve got more urgent things to do now. Like treatment and future prevention.

  2. Treatment.

    You’ll need to remove the infection then resort to your last known good backup. If that last backup was “never” it’s game over, I’m afraid.

    This will place your backup strategy under the most intense of scrutiny. Do you have a usable backup that is 24 hours old or even younger? Is your backup isolated from the network so that it too isn’t compromised?

  3. Prevention.

    Naturally, prevention is less agonising than treatment.

    You’ll need two things:

    Firstly, an up-to-date virus scanner (antivirus software) that will, hopefully, halt future infections before they take hold. Your antivirus software needs to have its “real-time protection” setting enabled.

    Secondly, and most importantly, you and your colleagues need to be alert and watchful humans. Be e-mail vigilante cops. Don’t open attachments or follow links in e-mails from people you don’t know. Even if it’s a sender you trust, if you suspect an e-mail isn’t genuine, you’re almost certainly going to be correct. Destroy all suspicious messages.

    Unfortunately, e-mails from a bank, the Tax Office, Australia Post, or the Federal Police might appear genuine. They’re fake.

    If such a message has an attachment, just don’t open it. If it has a link, just don’t click it. Phone the organisation to confirm the legitimacy of any message if you have an inkling it might actually be legitimate.

    Otherwise delete and breathe a sigh of relief that you may have just stopped a heinous crime from taking place within the ones and zeros that make up your digital workplace.

Malicious E-mail Example

The above advice is intended to be generalist in nature. Every business varies in terms of computing environment. Therefore, it’s important to consider your specific situation.

Three ways you can apply this information now

  • Share this article – who else might find this of interest?
  • Start a conversation at work – how is your company being vigilant?
  • Contact Us – how can we help your business?

You might like to consult 7 Steps to Avoid Computer Virus Infections and 6 Questions to Ask of Your Data Backups for more tips.

Contact Us or phone 1300 LOFTUS (1300 563 887) to discover how the Loftus team can help secure your business and protect your data.

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