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April 16th, 2015

Worried about Cryptolocker? Put your fears at rest with a good backup solution.

by Bonnye Sensenig

Imagine getting locked out of your computer — not because you forgot your login credentials, but because of a virus. Now imagine having to pay cybercriminals a hefty sum to regain access to all your files, customer data and confidential business information.

It's back in the news again- as some local police departments actually paid the fine in order to get their data back. They let the criminals win, but we don’t have to. This malware is known as ransomware, and it’s particularly nasty because infected users are in danger of losing their data forever.

ransomware exampleAccording to reports from multiple security firms, CryptoLocker is most often spread through phishing email attachments, but the malware also can be deployed by hacked and malicious Web sites by exploiting outdated browser plugins.

Cryptolocker will encrypt users’ files using asymmetric encryption, which requires both a public and private key. The public key is used to encrypt and verify data, while private key is used for decryption, each the inverse of the other.

The bad news is decryption is impossible unless a user has the private key stored on the cybercriminals’ server.

Another thing to remember about CryptoLocker –the problem is not so much in removing the malware — that process appears to be surprisingly trivial in most cases.

The real issue is that all of your important files — pictures, documents, movies, MP3s — will remain scrambled with virtually unbreakable encryption unless and until you pay the ransom

BEK Continues to emphasize the importance of backing up one’s files as a hedge against disaster in the wake of a malware infestation. Cryptolocker isn’t the first threat of its kind, and it certainly won’t be the last. Anti-virus programs can do a lot to stop these types of threats from getting into workstations, but as you know by now, they can’t stop an employee from downloading a file on his or her own—anti-virus can’t always protect from simple negligence.

BEK can help to give you peace of mind with a backup solution that makes it simple to take point-in-time incremental backups as often as every fifteen minutes, so you’ll have the option of restoring to an image taken just before your equipment was compromised by this malicious attack and only ever risk losing around fifteen minutes of newly created data (depending on how often you schedule incrementals). By taking control of your data with intelligent, regularly scheduled backups, you’ve got a way to get systems back to normal—even if something like Cryptolocker encrypts critical files or attacks systems in other malevolent ways.

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