A few weeks back we had informed our readers about CryptoLocker – a new type of a ransomware that has been let loose on the Internet. This post discusses some more important facts about this malware, and steps you must take to prevent it from affecting your computer.
What is a Ransomware?
A ransomware is a malicious program that freezes or locks up the victim’s computer, and makes it nonfunctional. The malware demands the victim to pay up a certain sum of money (ransom) to unlock the compromised machine. Because of this nature of demanding money and releasing the hijacked computer, this program is known as ransomware. Some ransomware also work by encrypting all your documents and data files and ask for ransom to decrypt the same.
What is CryptoLocker?
CryptoLocker is a type of ransomware that is actively spreading on Internet. After it invades the targeted machine, it starts encrypting all kinds of files on the machine such as images, videos, documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Once it has encrypted the files, it reveals itself in the form of a pay page. The page informs the user that the files on their computer have been encrypted. To recover the files, the user must purchase a private key. The typical ransom demanded by the CryptoLocker is $300. Also, the user has a limited time period to pay up the ransom, after which the private key will be destroyed and the hijacked files will be lost forever.
Unfortunately, once CryptoLocker has encrypted your files, there is no way to recover them until you have the private key. So, should you pay the ransom? We would like to go with a resounding and bold NO.
You are dealing with outright criminals here, who are extorting money from you. And there is no saying if they will hand over your files even after you have made the payment. Of course, the data that you have lost may be crucial. But, you can lose you data in several other ways.
There is one good news though. The files that are encrypted by CryptoLocker, are not accessed by the hackers. The files remain where they are – on your system, but in an encrypted form.
How Can you Prevent a CryptoLokcer Catastrophe?
Nothing would fit the scenario of CryptoLocker than the saying, “Prevention is better than cure”. That’s right! The only way you can recover from a CryptoLocker attack is to take the right precautions way before time. For your easy reference, we have outlined them for you:
Note: Recently we came across a new ransomware that goes by the name Anti-Child Porn Spam Protection. It states that the target’s computer is spamming links of child pornography Web sites. And it claims that it has encrypted the computer’s data, in order to protect the user, and others from such spams. This message is followed by their demand for a certain sum of money to get a password for recovering the data. Even in such cases, please do not pay any kind of money.
Given the increasing cases of ransomware and its variants, we urge our readers to strongly consider taking the precautionary measures listed in this post.