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Security Warning – Ransomware

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For many, Ransomware might be an entirely new concept. However, for those who have first-hand experience, it is something you are unlikely to forget in a hurry…

Recently, a particularly damaging strain of malware has been infecting machines – using advanced encryption to lock up user files. This was such a significant threat that it prompted the National Crime Agency to release the following warning http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/256-alert-mass-spamming-event-targeting-uk-computer-users.

CryptoLocker first appeared a few weeks ago. The malware means that users risk losing important files unless they pay a ransom (typically around £535).

We are aware that many instances of the malware have been spread by infected attachment to phishing emails – a common one which many people questioned purporting to be from the Inland Revenue or Companies House.

Once a computer is infected, the malware encrypts various files before displaying a ransom message which demands payment to remove the infection. Payment is demanded through an anonymous service which as Bitcoin (ironically, the soaring price of Bitcoin has led those behind CryptoLocker to reduce their demands from 2BTC to 0.5BTC).

To ensure that you minimise the risks posed by this type of Malware, ensure that you anti-virus and anti-spam software is robust, up-to-date, and well-managed. There are also a number of suggestions on good housekeeping here, whilst educating your users and making them aware of the risks posed is highly recommended.