CryptoLocker. Just looking at the word is enough to induce a headache for any CIO or IT manager. This malware not only encrypts all your files, but any other files they are connected to – making the impact long-lasting and devastating.
Part of the “ransomware” family, CryptoLocker has been running rampant for a few years now and hits via email. Once the email is opened, the recipient will have a certain amount of time, say 72 hours, to pay a ransom to get the unique encryption key for recovering the files. If the ransom is not paid, the threat is that the key will be destroyed and your files will be gone forever.
While there are tools out there that can help to detect the malware before infection, the best preventive measure is informing and educating each team member in your organization about suspicious activity. After all, we don’t leave our front door unlocked unless we want someone to walk in.
That said, it’s not easy to detect. For those unaware, an email will come in – business as usual – sometimes with a zip drive or another attachment with EXE or COM at the end. Sometimes, the sender will be unrecognized, but other times the name will be someone you know. The recipient - not knowing this could be trouble - opens the zip file or the attachment while the malware inventories every file (no matter what the format) in your system and sets a frantic firm-wide crisis in motion.
Instead, before an employee starts clicking away at an questionable email, they should start asking around – especially if it’s from someone they know – and they weren’t expecting anything. Make a phone call and say: “Did you send me something?”.
Rethink paying the ransom since your company’s information may now be on a malware list for future data breaches and it supports the malware business model. Hover over links instead of instantly clicking. Backup all important data, and make sure your employees – both management and staff – know the signs to look for moving forward.
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