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  • It seems that “Crypto” Ransomware has been making the news once again. What exactly is it, and more importantly how can you protect yourself?

    The most common (and infamous) “crypto” virus would  probably CryptoLocker (Also known as “Bitlocker” or “Cryptowall”) is a rather nasty bug that can encrypt all of a user’s files, and demand that a ransom (usually a couple of Bitcoins or $300 to $500 payable via Moneypack) be paid within 96 hours to receive a decryption key. After that 96 hours is up, the decryption key is deleted and your files are left encrypted.

    Crypto Ransomware seems to be primarily spread via email attachments (a commonly reported subject line is “Payroll Report” or “Invoice”). The attachment is commonly a .zip file with a PDF inside, which is actually an executable. Computers that are unknowingly part of the ZeuS botnet have had the malware pushed to them directly.

    It’s important to note that currently THERE IS NO WAY TO DECRYPT THESE FILES WITHOUT A DECRYPTION KEY. Once you’re infected you have two choices; either restore your computer from a back up, or pay the ransom.

    Methods to prevent a computer from falling prey to this insidious ransomware include:

    1) Making sure Windows has all of the latest updates installed via Windows Update.

    2) Having an active and up-to-date antivirus program installed on your computer.

    3) Not opening suspicious emails or downloading suspect attachments.

    It’s important to note that keeping a proper backup of your computer and files is absolutely essential to mitigating damage should your computer somehow become infected.