Ransomware Cryptolocker virus

Please excuse the length of this but it's very important you read it through.  I'm not one for scaremongering about viruses - there are enough fake virus emails going about.  But this one is real, I've seen it and it's effects, and most people do need to change their behaviour if they don't want to lose everything on their computers.

"Ransomware" is the description of a new type of virus.  Its been around for a few years but was very rare, however now it is very prevalent and I've dealt with three cases of it in the past few months.  One business lost everything on their server.  The ransomware virus is called the Crypto virus, and if you get it, it steadily and silently encrypts all of your documents, pictures, spreadsheets, PDFs and just about every other kind of file.  It also encrypts files on your backup drive, and any shared folders on other computers you connect to.  Once a file is encrypted, it is impossible to access without the decryption key.  Once it has done its job, it makes itself known and asks for anywhere from $100 to $50000 for the decryption key in order for you to decrypt your files.   Without this decryption key (in effect a password) it is impossible to recover any document at all from your computer.

A couple of weeks ago one of my clients was infected by this virus as one of their staff brought their home laptop in and connected it to the network.  The laptop had already been infected and was slowly being encrypted in the background, and it also began encrypting all the shared files on their server.  They didn’t realise until the laptop finally showed the ransomware message, and didn’t ring me for another day or so when they found the server files encrypted too.  Luckily, my client has a cloud backup solution which not only backs up to the internet every day, but keeps a copy of all versions of files for the past 30 days.  By downloading all their files from the cloud backup as they were several days earlier, they are out of trouble.

If they, like most businesses and homes,  just had a USB backup drive that did a daily backup they would have been out of luck, as it would have just backed up encrypted files.  If they had a cloud backup that didn’t keep copies of files as they were for up to 30 days in the past, they also would have been in trouble.

Ask yourself, how many of you have a backup that is simply to an external hard drive in your office or home?  If you don’t have a cloud backup system and you were infected by this virus, you would have lost everything irretrievably.  Cloud backup software that supports multiple copies of the file history includes most popular systems like Dropbox, Sugarsync and Google Drive.  They are cheap, and you are crazy if you don’t start using one.

We can help you set up one of the two main types of cloud backup systems.

The first type is a file sync tool like I mentioned above (Dropbox, Windows Live Drive, Google Drive etc).  You keep your critical stuff in the cloud folder on your PC and it keeps it updated and syncs it with any other computer you run that same software on.

The other is a cloud backup system which just backs up the files and folders you choose to the internet.  It does this quietly in the background all the time or on a schedule, without you needing to change your behaviour or move any files.  For between $100-$200 a year depending on what you need you can be protected from this virus (and from other catastrophic events like theft or fire).

Ring or email me to arrange the setup of either of these, or do it yourself, but do it now.


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