Hi there! Today I’m here to talk to you about the Cryptolocker Virus. The Cryptolocker Virus is a type of virus that we call Ransomware. It’s called Ransomware because that’s exactly what it does. It holds your computer for ransom.
The Cryptolocker Virus is capable of holding all of your files on your computer ransom and there’s several ways to get this virus. The first and most common method is by email which tricks the user into clicking or downloading something that silently installs the virus in the machine. Email is the most effective transmission method because it fools the user into believing an email is originating from the government, bank or law enforcement and asks them to take action by clicking somewhere on the page. The second method of infection is from an infected website. Several websites that offer pirated material, have the virus embedded somewhere in their site or merged into a movie or song that you’re downloading. The virus is silently installed as soon as you play back the movie or song. And finally the virus can be transferred physically by an infected usb, key, flash card or thumb drive.
Like any virus living or digital, you can get sick if you’re not protected. Viruses like the Cryptolocker can go through an anti virus system if it’s not up to date. If it’s not up to date, the virus passes seamlessly through and infects your computer.
Variants of the virus change daily. so it’s important that you keep your antivirus up to date because even if the antivirus was able to see it 2 weeks ago the virus may change and now the antivirus can’t see it. So constantly updating your antivirus is important.
Once the antivirus software has been bypassed the Cryptolocker virus begins the process in installing itself on your computer. What it does then, is it goes file by file and locks and encrypts the file with a special key that only the people who made the Cryptolocker virus can unlock. Once complete a warning will appear on your screen informing you that your files have been encrypted and the only way to unlock them is to purchase a unique key from the people holding your computer hostage. To make matters worse, they only make one key and they will destroy that key forever if you don’t pay them within the set time limit. Even if you update your antivirus after the infection and remove the Cryptolocker virus itself, your files will still be locked and unusable. Payment to unlock the files is only offered by a gift card or bitcoin. This makes it impossible to track where this money is going. Like many criminal exchanges paying the ransom does not always guarantee that you will get your files unlock. But it does mean that you’ve lost your money to the virus. Your antivirus is only 90% effective so the best defense is to be very very careful about what you’re opening or download or receive in an email. People who make this software, the ransomware make it look as legitimate as possible to try to fool you into clicking on something. Just remember that law enforcement, banks, financial institutions, government are not going to communicate with you by email. They’re going to call you, they’re going send you post, letters. So be very carefully when you’re opening these types of documents.
Since there is no way to unlock your files once they’ve been encrypted, it is really important you have a back up that is not attached to your computer. All your files on your computer will be compromised you’ll have to go to another location to get those files back so it’s very important that you have a good off-site back up that’s done on a daily basis. That is only your line of defense to restore your files back.
If you’d like to know more about the Cryptlocker virus or any other virus that may be affecting your network, please contact us. We’re here to help.