A new virus has arrived that will take your data hostage and promise to give it back if you pay a ransom
A powerful form of ransomware, Cryptolocker, has infected about quarter of a million Windows computers, a new report by security researchers has revealed. Cryptolocker scrambles users’ data and then demands a fee to unencrypt it.ccording to the BBC, Dell Secureworks said that the U.S. and UK had been worst affected.
It added that the cyber-criminals responsible were now targeting home Internet users after initially focusing on professionals, the report said.The first versions of Crytpolocker appear to have been posted to the net on 5 September.
According to the report, early examples were spread via spam emails that asked the user to click on a Zip-archived extension. Later it was distributed via malware attached to emails claiming there had been a problem clearing a cheque. Clicking the associated link downloaded a Trojan horse called Gameover Zeus, which in turn installed Cryptolocker onto the victim’s PC, the report said. By mid-December, Dell Secureworks said between 200,000 to 250,000 computers had been infected.The rise of the interconnected digital world has brought with it problems that previously existed in the physical realms. From chancers who play on the innocence of victims, up to serious organised crime that has money, skills, cruel intentions and the willingness to use them on the unsuspecting public.
Take solace though, that we do have ways to protect ourselves from these evil spectres of the web.
The first, and most obvious, 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, Skydrive, etc., which 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.