A new kind of ransomware was recently discovered by antivirus companies – only this one is a lot more dangerous than previous ones. Known as Cryptolocker, it seeks out your personal files then wraps them in strong encryption before demanding for payment. The ransomware first began going around in early 2013 and is not showing any signs of letting up. In fact, there seems to be a new variant that is currently active.
New and improved Ransomware
While the original version of Cryptolocker demanded 100 dollars to decrypt the files, the new version is asking for 300 dollars. It’s obvious that those controlling it realized they could make a lot more out of their criminal endeavor.
IT security companies are struggling to undo the damage, but many are finding that paying the ransom is the only way out. Surprisingly, some of those that have paid the ransom report that in fact they were able to decrypt their locked files. On the other hand, some people have reported that despite paying the ransom they were not able to get a key or that it was not working for them which doubles their loss.
Cryptolocker Small Business
As such, while you may not want to give in to the criminals, lacking proper and uninfected backup will leave you with no option, unless you are willing to lose all the affected files. Even when the files are successfully decrypted, the potential for reinfection exists, which is why it is best to reformat and start afresh once you get the files restored. Researchers from different antivirus vendors are working day and night to undo the damage, but as expected, this is proving very difficult. In order to decrypt the file, they require access to both the public and private keys that were used to encrypt them.
What you can you do
When dealing with Cryptolocker, prevention is definitely better than cure. The two main infection methods that have been identified are email attachments and botnets. Infections can easily be avoided by being careful with email attachments you were not expecting or from people you don’t know well and downloading files from questionable websites.
The best prevention is to make sure your computer is up to date and free of malware by installing and running the latest version of your anti-virus and anti-spyware. Finally, regularly back up your files and store them in a safe location, preferably offline. This will give you a good chance of recovering your files without much trouble.