CryptoLocker Warning

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Avrem Technologies, LLC is dedicated to providing the highest quality IT services possible. This dedication to service includes informing our clients about the latest security threats that emerge. CryptoLocker is a ransomware trojan virus which targets computers running Microsoft Windows and first surfaced in September 2013. The virus can come from various sources, but the primary method of infection comes disguised as a legitimate email attachment. When activated, the malware encrypts, or locks, common files such as pictures, music, and documents with a special key. The key is then securely sent over the internet and held for ransom until the user is forced to pay the fee for unlocking the computer. If the ransom is not paid within 72-hours or the virus is removed/tampered with, the key is immediately destroyed.

Viruses in the past have attempted this method of ransoming money from normal computer users, but the reason why CryptoLocker is so dangerous is there is currently no reliable method of safely removing the virus. The virus can be removed, but your files still stay locked and unavailable for access. This can be extremely frustrating especially if these files are not backed-up on an external device such as a flash drive, external hard drive, or cloud backup.

The single best way to avoid being afflicted with the CryptoLocker virus is to practice safe surfing habits. By following these steps, you can help insure your computer will never be affected by this or any troublesome virus:

1.) Keep your operating system and web browser up-to-date.
2.) Update anti-virus and anti-malware programs.
3.) Never click on pop-ups.
4.) Never open or respond to Spam e-mails.
5.) Watch out for phishing emails which use online communication (typically e-mail) to trick users into giving out their sensitive information. Often times these messages appear to be from a legitimate site but will contain links that lead to counterfeit versions of popular sites.
6.) Never open e-mail attachments that you were not expecting. If you are ever in doubt, contact us here at Avrem Technologies and we will verify the authenticity of the sender.
7.) Avoid using peer-to-peer network programs such as BitTorrent, Frostwire, etc.

Another way to ensure that you are not affected by loss of files is to invest in some sort of data backup. By routinely backing-up your files to an offsite location and/or device you can ensure that even if you are stricken with a virus, your files will be safe. Avrem Technologies offers multiple options for securing your files.

As stated, there is currently no fix for a computer infected with the CryptoLocker virus. The best solution for fixing the workstation is to restore it completely, which will delete any and all information that is stored on the machine. Practice safe surfing habits and back up your important information to ensure your computer remains clean of malicious software.

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Like most tech companies, we have a variety of ways you can get in touch with us, including email and our automated ticket service. But unlike most tech companies, you can also pick up the phone and talk to a real person. If you need something, just give us a call. We're always happy to help.

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