Cryptolocker, almost incurable virus that makes the data unreadable. Here’s how to protect themselves
The cryptolocker and its many variants can cause untold damage. Expert advice for defense and possible action if the computer is infected
Here is how they appear to the reader the first lines
(“GoFHF0Oywqj6gDdkAaUNYiy6W9g0kgb5SCkInRsattfaFwigfWYg31548Ikd6Es9xwgQnPpn8HDlZvImo … ‘) of the Divine Comedy by Dante after a typical 2048-bit encryption of the current family of ransomware virus. If it is hard to imagine that matches the known “Halfway through the journey of our life”, even more difficult to believe that in order to transform Quell and bring Quell of characters in the original we can take a few million billion years to a modern-day Pc.
Hell is what passes through, without even the help of Virgil, a computer user who, navigating the vast and uncertain seas of the World Wide Web, encounters the most dangerous of monsters: the virus cryptolocker or one of its many variants. There is a victory against it, but only a delay the defeat, as long as possible. Who knows in what round Dante would have placed the creators of this virus, surely he would not have imagined, as they lacked the imagination, as a click could erase the work of years of any person of the XXI century.
What it is
The cryptolocker, the family of Ransomware, is one of today’s most powerful computer virus is able within minutes to encrypt all your files to finally ask a payment in Bitcoin as a ransom to get them back in the clear; even the FBI recommends (through clenched teeth) to pay.
It may simply be infected by clicking on a link that leads to a web page specially packaged or, more often, by receiving a counterfeit email (phishing) with an attachment or a link to download on your computer the dreaded monster. The virus remains dormant until, opening a goner attached as alleged document (invoice, delivery note, etc.), Runs and begins to encode all the documents on your computer and on the local network without the user can become aware of nothing, until a message appears where you are notified that the damage is done and you have to proceed with payment.
Here’s how to protect themselves
So let’s see some tips to prevent infection of this kind of virus:
– Avoid mail providers that do not offer anti-virus filters, anti-spam, anti-phishing, etc. Google Gmail is an excellent choice.
– Always check, always, always, the sender of the emails posing as “authorities” (Enel, SDA, the Italian Post Office, UPS, DHL, banks), especially when they say that there is an attachment “to you”, or invite to click on any links. Usually there is a section “details” in the email where you can ‘see the header. We know, we are technical things, but not too complicated: you learn how to do and get used to do it forever.
– Keep your operating system up to date, change it if it is no longer supported. Microsoft, for example, does not release more updates for Windows XP.
– Equip yourself with an antivirus, better if not for free, even better if it also has a firewall.
– Always perform backups and put them safe, do not let the widespread USB sticks connected to your computer when done up.
– Use tools such as Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. which besides being excellent backup tools, can retrieve files of old versions, and then, for example, the version of a file before it was encrypted by the virus.
– If you have a network of computers, these tips apply to all connected computers: a single infected machine can infect all the others.
– Rely on professionals.
What you can do
If you were already infected, here’s what you can do:
– Turn off immediately / the computer, detaching it from the mains, unplug external drives and USB sticks and seek advice as soon as possible to a professional. Any other action would compromise the already slim chance of recovering your precious data.
– If you use programs like Dropbox, Google Drive or other types of backups in the cloud that offer functionality of file versioning, you can recover many of your documents.
– Windows has a feature called Shadow Copy that allows you to go back
over time at a given date. It works, but unfortunately the latest variants of these viruses also delete these copies.
– For any attempts of file recovery for the virus to blame yourself anyway assisted by professionals.