What is Cryptolocker and How to Remove it.

CryptoLocker ransomware and its variants and phishing emails continue to compromise computer networks of all sizes. What are these threats, how do you prevent them, and how do you remove them if you become a victim? We gathered a list of steps to take to ensure a proper removal of the malware and tips to secure and prevent your computer from future attacks.

CryptoLocker Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your files and demands that you pay a hefty ransom in order to unlock them. CryptoLocker works by tricking users into running the malware. The malware typically shows up from various webpages by clicking on hyperlinks that appear normal. The link either opens or saves the infected file onto the computer, with the potential to infect the rest of the network.

From there, CryptoLocker begins the encryption process using a series of random keys and AES encryption. It even encrypts those keys using RSA encryption, ensuring that only the owner of the private RSA keys can possibly decrypt the files. The encryption keys can be more than 1,000 characters long, making brute force cracking nearly impossible — and each file gets its own keys.

CryptoLocker targets and encrypts common non-executable data files such as: .doc, .docx, .xls, .jpg, .raw, .pfx, and many others. In other words, all of your business, personal, and financial files will likely be locked and held for ransom.

As with many forms of malware, variants of CryptoLocker have appeared one of which is extremely dangerous to businesses: CryptoWall. As if it’s not enough to lock documents and photos, CryptoWall deletes volume shadow copies and disables backup services. It also can prevent you from restoring from backups or reverting to a known good configuration.

Removing CryptoLocker

The best way to remove CryptoLocker is by continuously backing up your data. With Quikteks, we make sure your data is backed up regularly, providing you with a bulletproof backup. Unfortunately, unless you have a bulletproof backup or are willing to pay the extortionist the ransom, your files will be unrecoverable. However, the malware itself can be removed using Malwarebytes and some other computer security tools.

To remove the malware, download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free, update it, and run a complete scan. Once CryptoLocker is detected, the tool will remove it. Because one instance of malware is often indicative of other infections, we highly recommend having a trusted computer security professional from Quikteks scrutinize, clean, and protect your systems.

Preventing CryptoLocker and its Variants

Avoiding an infection is far preferable to paying a ransom or losing our data. With this in mind:

• Because some threats are embedded in webpages, use content filtering for the web. This will prevent you from landing on malicious websites.

• Disable hidden file extensions in your operating system so that a ZIP.exe file will be properly identified and not mistaken for a .ZIP file.

• Make sure you have a current and bulletproof data backup. Speak with Quikteks about our Data Backup & Disaster Recovery Plan

• Treat emails with attachments with suspicion. Do you know the sender? Are you expecting an attachment?

Computer security experts recommend NOT paying the ransom as doing so supports the malware industry, making it profitable.

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