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Know The CryptoLocker Ransomware Trojan & Protect Yourself

October 21, 2014

What is it?

CryptoLocker is malware, or malicious software.  It monitors your computer’s activity through use of a botnet, and then encrypts your files, holding them for ransom through a malicious program.  For this reason, it is known as “ransomware”.

A “Botnet” is a group of programs inter-connected through the internet.  They communicate with each other to perform tasks.  It can be as harmless as monitoring and controlling a chat room, or as dangerous as CryptoLocker and other distributed “denial of service” attacks, which as the name implies, prevent you from using services you’ve paid for or are entitled to.

CryptoLocker demands money to de-crypt your own files.  Paying a criminal to get your information back is NOT something anyone should do.

Having up-to-date virus and malware protection and detection software will keep CryptoLocker out of your system. Alura Solutions provides businesses with preventative measures to ensure CryptoLocker never holds any business hostage.

Basically, we can fix any issues you might have with Cryptolocker.  However, there are ways to protect yourself without our IT services.

Know Your Downloads

Only download files from trusted sources.  Chances are you won’t get malware like Cryptolocker from trusted sites like iTunes or Amazon.com.  Stick to sites that are widely recognized, and stay away from questionable sites offering pirated software or other files, as sometimes these files are laced with viruses to deter piracy.

Know your sender. Does your e-mail have an attachment? Ask yourself a few questions before you download it.  Do you know them personally?  Are they a trusted client or associate?  If not, downloading anything they send is extremely risky.  Is the file contained in a spam e-mail?  Ignore what it says, DO NOT download anything from a spam message.  Often they want your information so they can make money off of you, and more often than not their intentions are dishonorable.

Know your “file extensions”. File extensions are three or four-letter classifications that dictate what type of file you are opening.  Music files may have an extension like mp3 or m4a.  Documents may have extensions like .PDF and .doc or .docx for Microsoft Word and a wide variety of Adobe products.

This is where it can get complicated.  Malware designers have found ways to “cloak” their file extensions. EXE files are “executable” files, or programs that begin a process that “writes” data onto your hard drive and registry.  CryptoLocker is often an .exe file in disguise, mixed in with another extension and misrepresenting the file.  Fortunately, there is a way you can bypass this dastardly trick.

1)      Find the “tools” menu in Windows Explorer.

2)      Go to the option in the menu that reads “View/Hide Extensions for known file types”

3)      Turn this option OFF by unchecking the box.

4)      After this, false file extensions will be revealed. An example would be YourFakeFile.pdf.exe.  Note how the file has two extensions.

Beware of this trick practiced by criminals developing malicious software.

Alura Can Help

If your company does end up hopelessly corrupted with malware, Alura Business Solutions services all of our surrounding regions.  We offer managed IT services in King of Prussia, PA, where financial security is becoming increasingly more important with the success of the King of Prussia Mall.

Aside from our IT consulting around King of Prussia, we also offer data center solutions and customized IT service plans for any parties interested in doing business with us.  We believe we can get you the service you need at the price you want. For advice on the CryptoLocker menace and more, call Alura Business Solutions at 844.558.7200.

Tags: Early Detection, Malware, Virus,

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