Pay up or your data dies

5 December 2013

A new virus has arrived that will take your data hostage and promise to give it back if you pay a ransom

Crypto lockerDevastating malware that makes users’ computer files unreadable until they pay a hefty ransom has begun infiltrating Australian computers after wreaking havoc in Britain and the US. The so-called “ransomware”, known as CryptoLocker, silently encrypts files on Windows computers, along with files on any connected network storage or USB devices, rendering them unreadable. Once the encryption process finishes, it tells users to pay a ransom, equivalent to between$300-600.

Although CryptoLocker itself is readily removed, files remain encrypted in a way which researchers have considered infeasible to break. Many experts say that the ransom should not be paid, but do not offer any way to recover files; others say that paying the ransom is the only way to recover files that have not been backed up.

Australian universities are warning they can do nothing to help staff whose computers are infected other than suggest they rebuild a computer from scratch.

The obvious way to protect yourself against a CryptoLocker attack  is to regularly run full backups of your valuable data and then remove the drive from your computer, preferably storing it off-site.

Another is to create several online backups via free services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Skydrivewhich usually offer versioning – and thus a way to roll back to older versions of your files.

The most important though is to never, ever open a file or link in an email or on a social website unless you’re sure it was deliberately sent by the person themselves. It may seem interesting at the time, but the results could be utterly catastrophic.
What you need to know about CryptoLocker and how to protect yourself from this ransomware
Getting yourself a backup plan
%d bloggers like this: