cryptolockerImagine you are on your personal or work computer, and you receive a seemingly innocuous email from a trusted source, such as your bank, your tax office, or even a friend. The source asks you to download a file to update important account information. But, when you click on it, your most important files become encrypted and you are threatened you will lose them unless you pay a sizable sum to get them back! This real threat is called cryptolocker.

What is Cryptolocker?

Simply, cryptolocker is malware that encrypts documents and asks for money to unencrypt them. It affects both personal data and company data stored on corporate files. If you’re tricked into downloading the infected file, the virus will target your most important applications and operating systems. Cryptolocker can bypass virus scanners and other security measures to infect your computer, so it’s important to be able to recognize the warning signs.

Typical Warning Signs

Beware of the following suspicious emails:

  • Senders you do not recognize or known senders with unexpected content
  • No recipient listed in the “To” line of the email
  • Links in the email that do not match the title when you scroll your mouse over it
  • “Zip” files you are not expecting

How to Protect Yourself and Your Company

The following tips will help keep your personal and company data free from cryptolocker:

  • Delete suspicious emails right away and empty your trash bin
  • Keep antivirus and anti-malware definitions up to data
  • If you do get infected, remove the machine from the network to protect your organization from further damage
  • Train your employees regularly on IT security measures

If your company needs guidance on the latest antimalware techniques, contact your trusted IT advisor today.

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