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We Can Block Cryptolocker

The latest version of a particular type of malware (called ransom-ware) is infecting computers around the globe.  “Cryptolocker” encrypts all the data files (documents, etc.) on the infected computer, rendering them unusable to the computer owner.  The only way to unencrypt the files is by paying a ‘fee’ (or ransom) in bitcoin to the cybercriminals who infected your computer, at which point they provide you with the encryption key. 

Ransom fees have been reported in the $300 to $700 range, and there is one report of a police department in Massachusetts paying $750 to unencrypt their files.  Victims usually have 72 hours to pay the cybercriminals.  After 72 hours, there is a late payment penalty that brings the total cost to around $2,000.

Good practices will minimize the likelihood of being impacted by cryptolocker.  These practices include regular backups, avoiding phishing attacks, and using caution with regard to email attachments.  Email attachments were the source of cryptolocker infections at both the W.C. Machine & Tool company in Chandler, AZ and the Washington, PA based law firm of Yablonski, Costello & Leckie.  At the law firm, one attorney was working from home while connected to the corporate network.  Opening the infected email attachment was all it took to quickly bring down the firm’s entire network.

Sound Technology Services has developed a method to block the execution of the cryptolocker virus – which is being employed automatically to anyone on a managed services contract with us.  If you would like more information, please contact us.

For more on cryptolocker, view this bulletin from the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA13-309A

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