CryptoLocker Brings Ransomware to the Next Level
There are a lot of malicious programs categorized as ransomware, but CryptoLocker stands out of them as one of the most dangerous. The working principles of CryptoLocker are very similar to its analogs. It infects the PC and restricts access to the stored data by encrypting the files, and if the victim wants to restore the access, he/she has to pay the ransom. A lot of the developers of ransomware implicate this type of scheme. Unfortunately, the creators of CryptoLocker took one additional step. They improved the strategy; As a result, once the computer is infected the victims only have 72 hours to pay the ransom which might vary from 100USD to 500USD. If the requested funds are not transferred in the given time, the locked files will be deleted.
According to a security expert, Brian Krebs, the fact that the payment has to made in Bitcoin or MoneyPak is a major inconvenience for the victims as this type of currency is not widely used. As a result, they often fall short of time. In response to the situation criminals have improved the payment system in the late autumn. They have added another feature which enables users to regain access to their data even when the given 72 hours have expired, but this time the ransom will be much greater. In fact, the ransom could reach up to 2000USD.
CryptoLocker can easily disrupt the work of a small business let alone a personal computer. That is why CryptoLocker Prevention Kit is so popular among owners of small companies and self-conscious personal computer users. It‘s an application which is specifically designed to protect from the CryptoLocker infection. Although some conventional antivirus programs can detect this ransomware too, it is not recommended to solely rely on them. The protective shield provided by typical antivirus software is not powerful enough to protect the PC from CryptoLocker.
The ransomware is usually distributed via email disguised as a PDF file. The email letter is supposedly about payroll information. What is more, the CryptoLocker file is presented as PDF despite being executable file. These are the reasons why so many people fall for this scam and open the file which instantly infects the computer. Well-coordinated work is needed between the IT unit and other employees, in order to prevent CryptoLocker from spreading through the network. When the infected letters are identified, the sender’s IP address should be determined in order to block any further emails.
Once the computers are infected the company has to make a decision. It can either pay the requested ransom to the criminals or rely on a backup system. This is the time when previous investments to data security and backup show their full benefits. It just goes to show that, in today’s world, a plan for this kind of emergencies must be prepared by any company. Investments in IT security will definitely save money in the long run. What is more, there are simple solutions for data backup such as Google Drive or Dropbox which are also free.
Have in mind that by paying the ransom you are funding the criminals. As a result, they can create other projects and continue their criminal activities. What is more, by paying the ransom you indicate that their tactics were successful, and it is very likely that the same computer will be targeted next time in the hope to collect more money.
CryptoLocker is just one of many potential threats. The internet is full of various ransomware and other malicious programs which could cause great damage. All companies without exception should back up their data. What is more, they should all prepare individual plans for disaster management.