What You Need To Know About CryptoLocker Malware

We all hear talk of malware and viruses infecting computer systems, causing systems to crash and rendering personal computers useless, but the latest variety of malware, called CryptoLocker is some of the worst we’ve faced yet. It can cause some serious problems by hijacking valuable and sensitive information and demanding a ransom from it’s victims for the safe return of stolen digital assets.

About CryptoLocker

CryptoLocker is a new and particularly nasty form of malware that was first discovered in September 2013. What is especially dangerous about CryptoLocker is that victims are at risk of losing their important personal or business files forever. The malware is effectively spread through email attachments, and the majority of its targets have been businesses, luring them in with phishing attacks.

Once infected, the victim’s files are encrypted using asymmetric encryption that requires both a public and private key with data being verified and encrypted with the public key and the private one required for decryption. Decryption of the stolen files may be impossible without access to the private key (depending on the variant of CryptoLocker that has infected your system).

The Cost to Victims

When a user falls victim to CryptoLocker, they are informed that their information is being held ransom and instructed that if they do not pay the ransom by a specified date and time then the files would be gone forever. The ransom costs an average of a few hundred pounds, so either route taken can be considerably costly to the victim.

Prevention is Key

The real problem is that, once you have been infected with CryptoLocker ransomware, nothing can be done to remove it without the decryption key – the damage has been done. This is why prevention is so critical. Prevention consists of using malware detection software such as Malwarebytes and following user best practices to ensure you don’t make your computer unnecessarily vulnerable to such an attack.

The Importance of Backup

In many ways, having a backup is the best form of defence against malware such as CryptoLocker. However, even with a backup of your personal files in place there is a chance that CryptoLocker could go after any files located on a network drive that is connected to the infected computer.

Professionals are advising that a cloud solution for backup is ideal, used in conjunction with anti-malware software that scans every file before storing it using encryption for added security. A proactive approach is necessary in avoiding the damage of the CryptoLocker malware.