A nasty new malware has swept the Windows user community—CryptoLocker, a software that encrypts your files and holds them ransom.
While your computer continues to work normally, all of your personal files are unreachable. A countdown clock appears on your screen, instilling a sense of urgency and threatens to delete all of your files forever unless you to pay up to $300 USD within 72 hours.
The goal of most malwares is to steal sensitive information of personal, financial or business importance and can be removed with the right anti-virus software. However, CryptoLocker has a different goal. The encryption of your files makes them indecipherable and forces you to pay the ransom if you want your files back. These encrypted files can only be retrieved with the decryption key that is held on the hacker’s server.
The malware also threatens to destroy the files if any attempts to remove the malware are made. Many victims have disobeyed the threat and tried to remove CryptoLocker with anti-virus software. However, these victims reported that although it seems as if the malware has been uninstalled, the files still remain encrypted. This makes paying the ransom the only effective solution to retrieve the files.
As the cyber-crooks who invented CryptoLocker continue to target large businesses and individuals, the best way for people to protect themselves and their enterprises is to conduct regular file backups. These backups must be disconnected from your computer in order to truly reduce your risk.
Readers, have you fallen victim to CryptoLocker? Did you pay the ransom? Please share your stories in the comments below.
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