The Crypto Locker virus is a new piece of “ransomware” that is said to be one of the worst viruses to ever infect Windows PCs. The virus takes over a computers files, encrypts them, and then holds the files ransom until a user pays to have them freed by clearing out the virus.
The Crypto Locker virus is sent to users through emails that have innocent enough looking senders, such as UPS or FedEx. Once the file is installed a display pops up demanding upwards of $100 to restore a users important files. In same cases users have stated that Crypto Locker has demanded two to four bitcoins, or the equivalent of approximately $700 to $800.
Technology expert Anthony Mongeluzo tells Mountain News:
“Ransomware causes your computer files to be non-accessible and when that happens you have two choices. You can recover if you have a backup which I hope you do or pay the ransom within 100 hours. If you do not pay the ransom you lose all of your data.”
The program disguises itself as a JPEG, PDF, or other Microsoft Office file.
To recover files users are given a strict time-frame of 100 hours. Users who have actually paid the fee have reported receiving their files back in a 3-4 hour time period. Crypto Locker after payment is made states that all files will be returned after payment is verified. Regular credit cards (which are subject to chargebacks) can not be used. If you don’t have Bitcoins you can purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak to make the purchase.
Windows PC users are being encouraged to back up all of their important files at all times. Once infected brute force hacking your files back is not really something to be considered as the files are RSA-encrypted with strong backup technology.
If you want to prevent Crypto Locker from being installed there is a handy tool by FoolishIT LLC that creates software restriction policies on your Windows PC. The tool is free, easy to install and a necessity for users with thousands of files to protect.