Cryptolocker is a type of malware known as “ransomware”. If your computer becomes infected with it, it will encrypt most of your files, and you’ll get a message demanding you pay some amount to get the key to decrypt them. Seriously. This is no hoax, explains Bruce Campbell, President of San Ramon based Clare Computer Solutions. “If your files become encrypted, you have no choice but to pay the ransom.”
“There’s no guarantee that will get the problem solved – these ARE criminals, after all. Alternatively, do without those files, forever.”
Cryptolocker Ransomware Prevention
How does this ransomware get to you? Typically, it’s an attachment in an email, and something about the email convinces the user to launch the attachment. Often it’s in a message claiming to be from UPS, with tracking information. Often, the attachment APPEARS to be a pdf file, but is actually an executable file, which launches Cryptolocker.
The basics of Cryptolocker Ransomware prevention
Since the options for mitigating an infection by Cryptolocker are so limited, the best bet is to avoid getting it altogether, or at least limit your exposure to the damage it could cause. Here are some best practices for this:
Back up your files and images – if you do get infected, you can restore your machine to a recovery point before the infection occurred.
Be careful about opening attachments – be wary of attachments to any email. Tracking of packages is best done from the carrier’s website, NOT from an email. In general, treat any attachment with suspicion.
Use Software Restriction Policies on your machine(s) – Software Restriction Policies (SRPs) allow you to control or prevent the execution of certain programs through the use of Group Policy. You can use SRPs to block executable files from running in the specific user-space areas that Cryptolocker uses to launch itself in the first place.