Ransomware Threat Increases

The CryptoLocker virus is a ransomware infection that locks files on your computer demanding a payment to unlock.  Over 250,000 computers have been infected since September 2013.  Now a new threat, PowerLocker has emerged.

RansomwarePowerLocker, like CryptoLocker,  uses strong encryption that cannot be cracked to force you to pay to recover your files. It has been reported that the developers of PowerLocker intend to sell the program to other hackers greatly increasing the threat profile.

Most CryptoLocker ransomware infections are from email attachments on fake emails.  There are so many fake emails that at first glance look real.  Tracking information emails pretending to be from FedEx or UPS or refunds from Walmart or gift cars from Amazon or a notice from your bank, be sure not to open an attachment unless you are certain it is real.  With the sale of the malicious program, every spammer will have a variation that can lock your files.

There are suggestions that a PowerLocker infection can come from “drive-by-downloads” where you only have to visit an infected site. So as always, be sure that your anti-virus and anti-malware programs are up-to-date and that you have a current, good backup.  You can check to see if the definitions include protection against CryptoLocker from the provider website. And if you don’t have a backup, get one now!

Protect yourself from ransomware by having a current backup of all your critical files.  Backups can be damaged by this virus so be sure that your backup is stored in a safe place that is not on your computer or shared drives. Be sure to check the legitimacy of emails and don’t click on email attachments if you have the slightest doubt, keep your endpoint protection up-to-date and consider blocking executables from running automatically on your system.

If you have questions or want to further discuss, email me at: mary@lansystems.com.  Remember, always practice safe computing!

About Mary

Mary is the CEO of LAN Systems. She is an electrical engineer who feels her greatest strength is the ability to connect with people. LAN Systems provides IT managed services and solutions to growing companies and non-profit organizations. You can contact Mary at mary@lansystems.com.

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