Back in the middle of October a new kind of threat hit the IT headlines and was reported in the mainstream press. That threat is CryptoLocker Ransomware. Put simply it has been designed by extortionists, who block access to your person computer files and demand £200 or more for their release.
Infection usually comes via an innocent looking email, perhaps pertaining to be from your bank or an online shop. You open the file contained in the message and immediately the virus begins to encrypt every file on your PC, from photos, letters, presentation, spread sheets. Before long all your files have been encrypted and a message flashes up giving you a number of hours in which to pay to get your files back.
Even if you pay up there is no guarantee you will get your files back, so unless you have backed up your files onto an external disk or in the cloud (on the internet) then sadly they are lost forever. The virus can be removed from your computer; however without the encryption key there is no way to get your files back.
Here are my top tips to minimize your chances of a CryptoLocker attack:
- Back up your files to an external drive and don’t keep that drive connected to your computer.
- Take care when clicking on adverts; some can lead you to sources of malware.
- Never open Twitter links or tinyurls, unless you are certain they are trusted and clean.
- Make sure your operating system (i.e. windows 7) and antivirus is up-to-date.
- Install the latest versions of your internet browser and add-ons like Java and Adobe Flash.
Caroline The ‘PuterTutor