It was in 2013 that the infamous Cryptlocker first appeared and started holding people and businesses digitally ransom! Crazy!
This was a type of Trojan not seen before and came in the form of an ordinary looking file which, when opened, infected your PC with malware. What was novel about Cryptlocker is that it was a ‘ransom virus’. It would encrypt all the files on your system and while displaying a countdown clock, would demand payment of a ransom to unencrypt your files.
Failure to pay the ransom before time ran out would see your system trashed.
Yeah. Pretty nasty stuff.
Thankfully, by June 2014 Cryptlocker had been successfully neutralised by an international team of cybersecurity experts, but unfortunately not before criminal copycats had gone to town with the idea.
Trojans such as ‘CryptoWall’ and ‘TorrentLocker’ are now doing the rounds and many Australian businesses are facing the dilemma of paying experts to save their data, or suffering the consequences of standing their ground.
Trojans: “Prevention is better than cure”
Because there is no ‘cure’ or post virus remedy for CryptoWall and TorrentLocker (unless you pay the ransom once your system has been affected) you are likely to lose all your data and also corrupt your operating system.
So, what should you do to reduce the risk of falling foul of one of these malicious ‘phishing’ emails? Whether you are part of a network of PCs or just have your own computer, the rules are the same for avoiding your system becoming affected by either of these Trojans, or any others for that matter.
As these viruses are located in an attachment sent with an email, if you receive an email with an attachment and it is not expected, check the email address of the sender. Often phishing emails will look like an email from your bank, PayPal, or a parcel delivery service, for example.
However the email address of the sender will not usually correspond with a normal email address of the business the email is pretending to be from. The Australian Communications and Media Authority have issued warnings about phishing emails that pretend to be from Australia Post.
If you have anti-virus software installed, you can usually scan documents before you open them, and should do so every time before opening any document, even if it is an attachment from someone you know and trust.
Because Trojans and viruses can replicate themselves by using your address book and sending an email supposedly from you, attaching the Trojan in a file with the email.
Nettko has a Managed Antivirus prevention service that will work against that Trojan and similar clones, whether on an individual PC or on a network where you will want to do the utmost to stop the damage spreading if you become infected.
Regular Backups – Keep Digital Blackmailers Weak
Of course these Trojans rely on the fact your data and files contain invaluable information and that without it, you’ll be in trouble.
To minimise any damage done if you fall foul of any of these Trojans you should ensure that you not only back up your operating system, but also regularly and religiously backup any important data on a daily basis.
Staying one step ahead of the cyber crooks
According to information released by the FBI in America, CryptoWall attacks cost American consumers US$18 million between April 2014 and June 2015, while in Australia TorrentLocker was responsible for infecting 9,000 computers, which saw demands of up to AU$1,500 being made to avoid the destruction of essential operating systems and vital data.
Make no mistake: Trojans are dangerous.
While you should always keep your operating system protected by antivirus software, it isn’t always fool proof and it won’t always stop you from opening an attachment.
Create a personal or office protocol for yourself and your colleagues for the treatment of all emails, and if you are unsure about the content of any attached file or document, the simple rule is don’t open it.
Nettko can advise you on all of the latest Trojan scams and more. If you want to fast track your way to safety and security, let us help you. We are experts surrounding all of these matters and would be glad to offer you guidance and assistance. Please reach out to us on our contact page or give us a call on 1300 NETTKO and have a chat with us about our solutions for securing your business today
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