There’s always a bad virus out here on the Internet. Cryptolocker ransomware is a particularly good example.
Here’s the short-version of this post: The anti-virus, anti-malware firm BitDefender has released a free tool to keep your computer from getting this specific bad infection. It can be downloaded from Softpedia at: http://www.softpedia.com/get/Antivirus/Removal-Tools/Bitdefender-Anti-CryptoLocker.shtml
Here’s the long version of this post.
Cryptolocker ransomware is an infection a computer can get that will encrypt your data files on your computer and require that you pay a ransom to get the computer-key to re-gain access to your files. At this writing, the ransom was 0.5 BitCoins, which is equivalent to about $250-$300.
The most common way to get this infection is by email. People get an email, often crafted to appear as if it is from a bank, other financial institution, UPS or Fedex, and open the attachment. The attachment is a small piece of software that “phones home” to a control server, which then downloads the CryptoLocker software onto your computer. That software encrypts files of the types most commonly used – Word and Excel documents in particular. This piece of ransomware is capable of encrypting not only files from the local hard drive, but also ones from USB drives, shared network drives, and external hard drives. It can also access cloud storage drives.
If you’ve been good about backing up your data, then you (or Computer Studios) can remove the virus, and restore your data from your recent backup, and “no harm, no foul.” The problem comes from the reality that many people still don’t back up their computer files frequently.
If you don’t back up frequently, and you get the infection, then your choices will be lose the files or pay the ransom.
This is a nasty piece of criminal work. The protection tool is a great idea. If your computer isn’t enrolled in our maintenance plans, we’d recommend installing this tool in addition to the Internet security software you have (anti-virus, anti-malware, firewall etc).