Two weeks ago, the National Communications Administration managed to weaken a set of malware designed to steal banking and personal credentials from unsuspecting users. They warned the world that GameOver Zeus and Cryptolocker ransomware would be back with a vengeance, and that immediate action could prevent a whole lot of pain later.
About the Threats
Cryptolocker was discovered nearly three years ago in 2011, and infected as many as 250,000 systems within the first 100 days it was active. The GameOver Zeus botnet threat augments this malware, and uses peer-to-peer software to scan your computer for banking credentials or valuable information. If it fails to find anything, it encrypts your hard disk drive, preventing you from accessing your own PC. It then installs Cryptolocker, which will basically hold your computer hostage until you pay a decryption fee. Cryptolocker utilizes Microsoft’s CryptoAPI cryptography software, a third-party certified program and very difficult to work around. You are then given a set amount of time to pay the fine before your computer is completely encrypted.
What Can You Do?
TMS is here for you in this trying time. Here are a few tips to protect yourself and your business from Cryptolocker.
- Pay attention. This malware spreads when the user visits a malicious website or opens an infected email. These emails will typically try to get the user to enter in sensitive information. The best way to fight these emails is to never open an email that you don’t recognize, and to look for a lack of personalization or insecure URLs.
- Back up your files. You should always have your data backed up in at least two locations. For businesses, this means storing your important files on a centralized server (NOT the workstation) and utilizing a solution like our Backup and Data Recovery (BDR) that will keep your data backed up securely. Utilizing off-site and cloud backup solutions are also important when considering your business continuity plan.
- Keep your security software updated. Always be using the latest version of your security measures, including antivirus, firewalls, and web filtering software. By doing so, you’ll be taking valuable steps toward keeping your system at minimal risk.
- Run frequent security scans. Check your system regularly for infection, and make sure that nothing out of the ordinary is happening within your PC. Most antivirus software allows you to run a scan, which will inform you of any abnormalities.
- Always keep your operating system up-to-date. Updating your operating system is imperative to keeping your system’s vulnerabilities patched up and safe from threats. The purpose of these updates is to keep your computer safe from new and rising threats (like Cryptolocker, for example), so it would be silly not to employ them.