Lots of this blog is probably going to contain very SHOUTY CAPITALS… This is because I cannot stress enough HOW IMPORTANT it is you read and take action.
Lately the dreaded crypto virus has decided to rear its ugly head. The virus is spreading thick and fast- AGH! Because of this, we believe it is prudent to offer the following URGENT advice to prevent spread of this virus which will lead to LOST DATA AND SERIOUS DOWNTIME.
Networks and servers are being targeted by opening an email and clicking on an attached document. The Virus has reappeared under the name CryptoLocker Service by someone called Fabken (or complete twat as we like to call him). You know not to open dodgy emails don’t we? It has been said time and again and not just by us. So potent is this threat that it warranted an advisory from the United States Computer Emergency readiness Team- a branch of the Department of Homeland Security
What is Ransomware ? This is a variety of malware that is going to steal your data, lock your PC and make you pay (the ransom…) It usually has a helpful countdown to put you under pressure and make you sweat. We have a number of customers who
have paid the ransom and didn’t receive any key to unlock it. With Cryptolocker, the encrypted files cannot be recovered and sadly, it does not look as though the bad guys made any cryptographic mistakes. Local backup may not be enough in some instances as Cryptolocker may even go after backups located on a network drive. The only protected back up would be a Cloud Solution
Is this on a Mac as well as a PC ? No, but if you run Boot Camp or Paralells Desktop then you are vulnerable when using Windows on the Mac. Chrome users seem to be less affected, which is lucky for most of our customers.
How can I protect myself from Cryptolocker? Dare I say it again… DO NOT OPEN UNEXPECTED EMAILS! Watch out for those cheeky virus filled attachments. These are often demands for Payment, statements for payments and things which will get your attention. IF IN DOUBT, DO NOT OPEN IT and ensure ALL users are aware of this. Make sure that your computer(s) are running the latest version of Anti Virus software at the highest setting of detection. Keep it up to date with identity files and configured for best protection.
Does Anti-Virus software protect my computer from Cryptolocker? Yes, but malware writers are constantly updating and releasing new variants and families. You must STAY UP TO DATE with the latest Anti Virus releases but there is no guarantee and staff and users should be aware of opening unexpected emails. AVG, our suggested partner for protection have now incorporated an update to the allow it to scan emails as soon as they come in. This is not unusual but this update allows AVG to scan the contents and attachments of the email, then Quarantine the email.
How do I remove Ransomware once detected ? Best case scenario, you can try to update your Anti Virus and scan though but the Virus might not let it. Remove the PC from any network to stop the spread. The creators of the Virus are creating daily mutations and variants aiming to beat the latest AV updates. IF your standard AV software such as Sophos or AVG fails to help then try www.malwarebytes.org/free is an alternative and is free. Beyond this, you will need to re-format the computer meaning you will lose any data.
Can HardSoft help ? We are happy to assist, but remember, if you have the Virus then the only solution is to get the Server/PC reformatted and restore from Back Ups. This normally means an Engineer on site to resolve at a cost to you and a few days downtime. This is not covered under warranty unless you have our GOLD Network cover. If Back Ups are not up to date then you will lose data which may have financial consequences. Please also be aware that HardSoft do not proactively check your backup. If you do get hit by a virus we may need to restore an old backup. Please take the time to check your backup is working, by following these steps:
On Server Click the “Start Flag” , Type Backup, and select the “Windows Server Backup” result, Once opened it will show the last 7 days of backups
If any show as Failed please email us to rectify the situation. PLEASE CHECK THIS WEEKLY! Any problems, please email email@example.com or log a call to our technical team on 0207 111 1643 to talk you through the process.