Cryptolocker is a malicious malware program that attempts to extort victims of up to USD$1,000 in order to restore encrypted files.

It generally infects a user’s machine via a non-conspicuous email that appears to have an attachment, such as a PDF. While the email appears to be from a genuine organisation, the attachment, which is actually a .Zip file, infects the host computer and locks files.

Cryptolocker targets Microsoft Office files, CAD files and pictures. Once the system and files have been locked Cryptolocker delivers a message, requesting that users pay a ransom with a prepaid voucher or using Bitcoin – in exchange for a passkey that will unlock the encrypted data.

The organisation behind Cryptolocker has allegedly been shut down, however the malware still remains a threat. In addition to this, copycat schemes have popped up, to replace the Cryptolocker scheme.

The Cryptolocker password for encrypted files may be obtained, through the submission of an infected file to one of many organisations that may potentially hold a database of passkeys. Unfortunately, the same organisation behind the Cryptolocker software also set up an alternate website that claimed to assist victims of the malware – in actual fact, this website was used to cause further issues and extort additional funds from victims.

We have found that the best solution for Cryptolocker is to firstly review backed-up data and to see what information is not backed up and whether this warrants further attention, other than a system recovery. If a back-up is not sufficient it may be possible to obtain a recovery passkey.

This highlights two very important considerations for your IT security – data back-ups can prevent major business disruption in the event of a malware attack such as Cryptolocker and secondly a well-rounded IT security plan should be in place to limit the impact of malicious software attacks on your businesses data.

If you want to protect your business data check out our IT Security page to ensure your data is secure and backed up.

If you have been a victim of the Cryptolocker malware or would like further advice on how to secure your data feel free to contact us and we would be happy to assist you.

 

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Image (Data security concept) courtesy of David Castillo Dominici @ freedigitalphotos.net