We’ve talked about cybercrime and in particular, Cryptolocker, quite a lot on the blog over the past few months. And here it is again. Following an increase in the number of businesses affected by the virus, here’s another warning. So what is it and what do you need to look out for?
Cryptolocker is a type of computer virus known as ramsomware. It works by disguising itself as an email attachment – usually a ZIP file – and it will usually claim to have been sent by a financial institution – bank, HMRC or sometimes a utility company. When a user receives the email and clicks to open the attachment Cryptolocker immediately encrypts all data on the user’s machine, along with any data on the local network it is attached to. So, if an office worker opens an infected file the data estate of the entire company can be locked down in minutes. Not only that, but if you’re using an online backup solution that’s connected to your local network then your backup could also be infected.
Next, a countdown timer will appear on the screen of the infected machine along with a demand for cash – usually around £500 – in return for the decryption key.
But of course, these are criminals you’re dealing with. So coming up with the ransom money doesn’t guarantee you’ll ever see your data again.
And when a business loses its data….well, you know how devastating that can be. Imagine if all of your company files, folders, documents, contacts, financials – gone. Years of work, gone in minutes.
According to our security partner F-Secure, 87% of SMEs have suffered some sort of security breach in the last 12 months and according to the Contingency Planning Research and Strategic Research Corporation 43% of companies experiencing disasters never re‐open, and 29% close within 2 years.
So what can you do?
- DO NOT OPEN any email attachments (particularly ZIP files) that you are not expecting to receive. If you receive such an email, delete it immediately.
- Remember that banks, building societies and HMRC will not send you unsolicited emails with attachments – if in doubt call your bank or tax office first to check whether they have sent the email.
- Keep anti virus software and operating systems updated.
- Backup your data routinely, off the network, and test your backups regularly.
If you think you may have been infected by ransomware then contact your IT support company immediately.
Further information on how to spot and avoid computer viruses can be found on our blog here and if you have any questions or concerns please call us on 01625 837800 for advice.