Cryptographic cybercrime viruses are cyber security nightmares that have crippled PCs across the country. We look closer at the latest threat, CryptoLocker.
What is “CryptoLocker”?
CryptoLocker is a cybercrime virus that locks users out of their systems until a ransom is paid. Although the original CryptoLocker virus is now detected by most up-to-date anti-virus software, there are many variants of the virus created every day. Unfortunately, as these are all slightly different to the original cybercrime threat, these often slip through security software undetected.
What are the threats to businesses?
CryptoLocker viruses are estimated to have attacked over half of all British businesses (according to a survey by Malwarebytes). The number of sophisticated attacks is increasing, resulting in ever increasing risks to all types of businesses. Those affected suffer significant disruption (to staff, customers and suppliers), financial loss and major inconvenience.
CryptoLocker viruses are estimated to have attacked over half of all British businesses – Malwarebytes survey.
How does Cryptolocker infect computers?
CrypoLocker is spread by seemingly harmless email messages. These emails typically contain attachments which may seem genuine (e.g. pdf documents purporting to be invoices). Once the email is opened, the virus attacks the computer without the victim’s knowledge, immediately working its way through the machine and encrypting files over a period of time.
The first the user will probably be aware of the infection is when the ransom note is displayed, requesting payment in Bitcoins. However, the damage has long since been done and it will now be a case of damage limitation.
What if I get infected by CryptoLocker?
There are two options if you become a victim and do not have adequate measures in place. The first option is to restore the affected data from a recent back-up. This may be a lengthy process and can take up to 2 days meaning a significant period of inactivity for your staff, and great disruption to your business.
The second option – and one not generally recommended – is to pay the ransom. These ransoms can be excessive (often thousands of pounds) and there is no guarantee that your data will be unlocked at all, let alone in a timely manner.
So how do I minimise the risks of cybercrime and crypto attack?
For many businesses, mitigating the risks entirely is pretty much impossible. Human error is a continual factor in CrypoLocker infections, and with modern email demands and other online factors, it is hard to be certain that staff are always vigilant and aware of the risks.
How can Akita help?
Our approach to providing enhanced protection and risk management is unique. By undertaking a Security Audit, we can propose a suite of recommended improvements to provide increased detection, user awareness, improved administration, and risk management.